The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing

Margot Livesey
Published in 2017
by Tin House

In The Hidden Machinery, award-winning novelist Margot Livesey looks to the authors and the works that have inspired her own writing. Each of the ten essays in this book is rooted in close readings of authors such as Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Tom Stoppard, and Virginia Woolf, from whom Livesey draws invaluable lessons about rhythm in dialogue, the pitfalls of research, creating indelible characters, and much more about the inner workings of fiction. Within the essays are helpful prompts and tips on how to develop characters and sustain a narrative. “Read everything that is good for the good of your soul. Then learn to read as a writer, to search out that hidden machinery, which it is the business of art to conceal and the business of the apprentice to comprehend,” writes Livesey.