For Writers, the Story Chooses You

alex atkins bookshelf quotationsWhen asked how he came up with his stories, American short-story writer Raymond Carver (1938-1988) responded, “Ideally the story chooses you, the image comes and then the emotional frame. You don’t have a choice about writing the story. I think that writers reach a point where they realize most areas of experience are not available to them—through lack of interest, lack of knowledge, lack of emotional involvement. I would be quite incapable of writing a story about young politicians, or even old politicians, or lawyers, or the world of high finance and fashion. There’s a filter at work which says this is or is not a story. And maybe there will be some little something, the germ of an idea, which will strike some kind of chord and begin to grow. I think a story ideally comes to the writer; the writer shouldn’t be casting the net out, searching for something to write about.”

From Conversations with Raymond Carver by Raymond Carver


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