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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Those unruly characters

“I envy those writers who outline their novels, who know where they’re going, but I find writing is a process of discovery.” – Jay McInerney

I agree with McInerney.  As I’ve worked on a book I’ve always started along a path that I thought was clear and well-illuminated, but somewhere along the way the view got murky or downright unseeable.  What resulted was a new way that my characters were taking me and that, of course, led to an entirely new and equally successful conclusion to my writing trip.

The author of Bright Lights, Big City, McInerney has written 6 other novels and 2 books of short stories – the first How It Ended called one of the best books of short stories by an American writer in the past 20 years.  He also is a regular in the Wall Street Journal, where he writes both editorial copy and serves as a food and wine writer.

Friends with a number of other famous writers, he holds the interesting distinction of having one of his characters – Alison Poole -- from his novel Story of My Life used as a regular character in the writings of Bret Easton Ellis, including his award-winning book and movie American Psycho. 

Alison was one of those “emerging from the shadows” characters who became the key focus for not just one, but two writers – not to mention many, many satisfied readers.  You know you’ve had an impact on the writing world when something like that happens.  Today, by the way, is McInerney’s 60th birthday. 

Jay McInerney

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