On writing with sand in your face

In an interview with American Short Fiction, writer Amber Dermont (who’s been a reviewer in our Artist Fellowships Program), comments on guidance she received from Massachusetts author Andre Dubus III:

ASF: What’s the best bit of advice on writing you’ve ever gotten?

AD: I once had an independent study with the nicest man in the world, Andre Dubus III. Not only is he a fantastic writer but he is also a generous and highly supportive teacher. I’d given him an incomplete piece of writing and during our weekly conference he asked me about a particular missing scene. I described an elaborate sequence of actions and provided a detailed account of my characters’ motivations. Andre just smiled and asked, “Have you written any of it?” I said no and he replied, “Well, then how do you know for sure that that’s what happens?” From Andre I learned that a writer discovers her story in the act of writing, not in the act of thinking or talking about writing. He also liked to say that a writer needs to be able to write when tired and that you have to learn to do your work even when riding in the desert on the back of a flatbed truck with sand blowing in your face.

Read the full interview.

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