Laura Lippman on Visual Outlines

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“There comes a point where you’ve gotten so deep into the novel that the words don’t really make sense anymore,” says Laura Lippman as she describes the need for a tactile writing process involving visual and colorful outlines. Lippman’s latest novel, Lady in the Lake (William Morrow, 2019), is set in 1960s Baltimore and follows a housewife turned aspiring reporter who pursues the murder of a forgotten young woman.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates on Why He Writes

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“I just felt this deep need to express myself.... I had a strong desire to understand and to express that understanding.” In this CBS Sunday Morning interview, Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about the purpose of his writing and how the music of Marvin Gaye influences the language in his work. Coates’s debut novel, The Water Dancer (One World, 2019), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

The Nickel Boys

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“You pick the right tool for the job, and sometimes fantasy is a way to open up a story and convey a universal truth, and sometimes realism.” Colson Whitehead speaks with PBS NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown about his writing process and the true story that inspired his latest novel, The Nickel Boys, which was published this week by Doubleday.

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Alexander Chee on His Writing Process

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“I like questions, my imagination likes them too.” In this A Word on Word series video, Alexander Chee speaks about his essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Mariner Books, 2018), and his writing process which involves engaging in conversation with his fictional characters.

Ann Beattie on Her Writing Process

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“I start with a physical feeling. I start with a visual image.” On Late Night With Seth Meyers, Ann Beattie speaks about her writing process, the differences between writing a novel and a short story, and how she came up with the title for her most recent novel, A Wonderful Stroke of Luck (Viking, 2019).

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Kwame Dawes on Writing

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“I do come back to poets from the Caribbean especially, who gave me permission to be a writer.” In this interview with City of Asylum, Kwame Dawes talks about the writers whose work he revisits, his writing routine, and why he doesn’t use the word “inspiration.” Dawes is the editor in chief of Prairie Schooner and is featured in “Telling a Different Story: How to Cultivate Inclusivity at Literary Magazines” in the November/December issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

The Poet X

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The Poet X is my third novel, but it’s the first one published.” At the New York State Writers Institute, Elizabeth Acevedo speaks about making the transition from poetry to fiction, facing rejection, and learning to persevere in the process of publishing her first novel, The Poet X (HarperTeen, 2018), which is longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in young people’s literature.

Rebecca Makkai

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“You’re writing in total isolation. It’s like getting dressed in the dark, the complete dark, and then you have to go out on stage.” On Late Night With Seth Meyers, Rebecca Makkai discusses what it feels like to publish a book, the research behind her new novel, The Great Believers (Viking, 2018), and why she enjoys teaching MFA students. The Great Believers is longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in fiction.

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