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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A long, slow process

For each writer, as I mentioned yesterday, there’s a different answer to the question: Where do you get your characters?   I recently read this note in Time from the fine author Meg Wolitzer and thought it was an excellent take on how the process occurs.

“My best, though incredibly vague, answer is that ideas about characters come about through the long, slow process of living.  Even if a character’s experiences aren’t your own, you are citizens of the same world, and you’ve had your experiences and witnessed other people’s too.  While all that has been going on, empathy has quietly been forming; it’s a chemical process.”

It’s probably safe to say that Wolitzer’s life has been permeated by writing.  The author of 10 novels, including The Wife, and The Ten-Year Nap, she grew up the daughter of a novelist (Hilma Wolitzer) and married another novelist (Richard Panek).  And the legacy is continuing.  Both of her sons, still teenagers, already have had works published.   The beat goes on, and we – the readers – are the lucky beneficiaries.

Meg Wolitzer

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