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Sunday, January 09, 2022

Prose is Never Finished


National Book Award Winner Alice McDermott describes writing prose as a never-ending endeavor. "Prose is never finished. It's a process that only ends when you allow it to. You can always improve your writing."

She suggests writers feel their way through a novel rather than target a specific destination. "Writing fiction is intuition, the sculpting of material and selection of words. There are turns in a story that writers don't expect, that they don't see coming."

It's that mystery—the not knowing where she's headed—that McDermott finds fascinating. In fact, she always begins without a plot and develops it as she writes.

"There's the danger of losing enthusiasm if you know the plot before you start writing. With literary fiction, it's best to begin without knowing exactly where the story is going."

What do you think: is prose ever perfectly complete? If you are a writer, do you prefer to plot or feel your way through a novel?



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