Monday, May 9, 2011

Paul Lisicky on About-ness

Sadye Teiser: In workshop, you were talking about the complexity of figuring out what a piece of fiction is "about," what aspects you want to focus on as you tell each story. Could you talk a little bit about this process? Have you ever, in your own writing, figured out what you want your book to focus on while writing and then had to backtrack?

Paul Lisicky: About-ness is such a tricky thing. I don't think we ever want our work to be wholly explainable, or to support a thesis. We want it to be mysterious. We want it to move like music. But we also want it to be bound by meaning. A lot of that meaning is already embedded in our metaphors, whether we know it or not. The trick is to write toward a space that knows more than we do. And that often involves throwing out the original plan.

Paul Lisicky, author of The Burning House, in an interview with Sadye Teiser for the UNCW Creative Writing Department newsletter, excepted on his blog.

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