Characters simply come and find me. They sit down, I offer them a coffee. They tell me their story and then they almost always leave. When a character, after drinking some coffee and briefly telling her story, wants dinner and then a place to sleep and then breakfast and so on, for me the time has come to write the novel.
When you do your research write down whatever interests you. Whatever stimulates your imagination. Whatever seems important. A story is built like a stone wall. Not all the stones will fit. Some will have to be discarded. Some broken and reshaped. When you finish the wall it may not look exactly like the wall you envisioned, but it will keep the livestock in and the predators out. (pg. 144)
When I first started making music, I didn't really know what I was doing. I just wanted to write songs. I didn't have a concept. I didn't think it through. I was just flailing around doing what comes naturally. It took me a really long time to step back and deal with what I was doing with any kind of perspective or self-awareness.
I spent the morning smashing fliesI killed one fly against the doorjamb. Another I stalked into the kitchen. . . A third fly wavered by the kitchen window. When I swatted, a wild ferocious swing, a whole trembling crowd shot from the window like pebbles from a blunderbuss, then settled back. My heart pounded. I felt flushed with disgust and irritation. Why must I always have such obstacles to my writing?
In stand up every joke is thought about so meticulously, and one word can completely change how the audience responds. You're up there with no safety net; you can't shirk responsibility. It's your thoughts; it's your voice. You can't blame it on the writing, you can't blame it on the editor. You are just up there completely naked.
Donald Trump creates word salads. And that is awful to language, because we try to parse out what he's saying and try to find meaning in it. Journalists don't have a choice about reporting what the president says. I find the idea - "Let's not write about his tweets" - to be absolutely ridiculous. I mean, he's the president! Of course, we have to write about his tweets and look at what they mean. The problem is, they're hollow. But we don't have the option of ignoring what he's saying because he's president. That's damaging to language, and to journalism.