a weblog for readers and writers

Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Irving's Deliberate Echoes

According to novelist John Irving, a little bit of repetition in your writing can be a good thing.

"Deliberate echoes appear in my books," he explains.

The day that I met him at the National Book Festival in Washington DC, he talked about the craft of writing. He'll be the first to admit that not only is he an over-writer, a trait he's proud to share with Charles Dickens and Nathaniel Hawthorne, two of his favorite writers. And he also admits that many of the same themes appear and reappear from one novel to the next -- and within the same novel.

What sort of echoes? "Repeating sentences, paragraphs, ideas," he elaborated. He uses his most recent novel, Until I Find You, as an example.

"Not having an adult tell me who my father was, that's me. Having sex as a child with an adult in a damaging way -- that happened. It pops up over and over again. In my eleventh book, there it is again looking at you one more time."

Irving takes some comfort in knowing he's not alone. "Writers repeat themselves. It's evidence that you have something important to say."

Learn more about the author at the link below.



Post a Comment

<< Home