Saturday, July 31

One Writer: One Question


Hearing the sector previously today, I wondered what concern I may ask of Bob and Brian. And after that the natural extension: If I might ask one question of anybody, who would I pick and why.

Yes, Ive already had my chance: in 2013 I talked to Saunders while he was on book tour (heres an abbreviated variation), however at the time my most burning concern concerned … our shared love of Johnny Tremain.

Discussion concerns: You can choose one author, alive or dead, and ask just one question. Who do you choose, what do you ask, and why? What type of reply would you hope for? What does your choice of writer and/or question inform you about yourself as an author? If your author is alive, have you ever considered finding a method to ask him/her this concern?

If I might choose one author to ask one question of, I envision it would be Saunders.

Why am I composing about it. Well, its the coming together of a couple of things.

Ive thought through my options, and unless a more appropriate response enters your mind, my own will be [spoiler alert!] George Saunders. Ive read his work for probably close to twenty years. I d approximate Ive checked out 90% of his released fiction, and half, take or offer, of his nonfiction.

Then I thought of you people and how this is ostensibly a blog about composing, and it ended up being: If you could ask one question of any author, who would you choose and why?


At Yak Babies were planning an episode where we each name the author whose work weve stayed up to date with for the longest quantity of time.

Saunders was on my mind anyway: This weeks episode is a deep dive into his 1998 story “Sea Oak.”.

( I likewise commented, ignominiously, on the size of the toast he was served at breakfast, an incident I recounted in another current episode and is now included on a T-shirt.).


WriteByNight is a writers service dedicated to assisting you reach your innovative capacity. We deal with writers of all experience levels working in all genres. Browse our book training, manuscript assessment, and publication support services, and register for your free writing consultation today

I matured listening to an FM early morning program in Milwaukee. Every day, Bob & & Brian open the “One-Question Line”: Callers are permitted one concern, however are hung up on if they make any declaration or preface their question with “Can I ask” or “I was questioning” or any such throat-clearing. Its a silly segment.

Given a 2nd possibility, what would be my question?



Isnt writing terrific? You can start heading in one direction then alter course on a penny, but without having to revamp everything that came before. (Even if you sometimes ought to …)

Beatlebone is among my favorite books from one of my favorite authors, Kevin Barry. Its a fictionalized account of John Lennon visiting his private island off Irelands west coast. Lennon is in an existential and creative crisis. He feels his best work lags him, and has no concept– though, devastatingly, we do– what lies ahead.

[And then … changes his mind.]


If I could ask simply one concern of any one author, my writer would be Kevin Barry, and my question would be: “Whats up with Part Six?”

After we read 200 uncomplicated pages of a 300-page novel, here comes “Part Six.” And Part Six is thirty pages of authorial invasion at its fiercest: Barry (assuming its Barry), speaking to the reader, details the background and research study process for the novel hes so rudely elbowing himself into.

With the caveat that youre not forever bound to todays reaction:.

Part of the reason it works is due to the fact that Barrys struggle for inspiration mirrors that of his primary character. I get that. Still, it seems to me an insane, ballsy, however excellent choice.

[Duhr stops briefly, takes a couple of minutes to think.]

Thats what Im feeling today. Tomorrow? Maybe a various concern for a various author.

Which writer do you choose, what is your concern, and why?

What type of reply might you wish for?

What do you think these options inform you about yourself as an author?

Is your author alive? If so, have you ever thought about attempting to discover a way to ask your concern?

We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres. What does your option of author and/or concern tell you about yourself as an author? If your writer is alive, have you ever considered discovering a method to ask him/her this question?



Perhaps a different concern for a various author.

WriteByNight is a writers service committed to helping you achieve your innovative capacity and literary goals. We deal with authors of all experience levels working in all genres, around the world and across the country. If you have a 2021 composing project you d like a little aid with, have a look at our book coaching, private direction and authors block counseling services. If you have a manuscript thats all set for some editorial care, have a look at our different proofing, editorial, and critiquing services. For your FREE writers diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the having a hard time writer, join our mailing list..

WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has discussed books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

We work with writers of all experience levels working in all categories, across the country and around the world.

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