Monday, November 23, 2015

Kevin Barry on research in fiction writing

Sometimes the best research happens when you don’t even know you’re doing it, when you’re just going through your day-to-day life. But it can take a long, long time for it to filter into the fiction.
I regularly look back at my short stories and ask myself “where did that come from?” Often it comes from periods of your life, feelings or emotions, that happened ten, eleven, twelve years ago, and it takes that long to hang around at the back of the mind, in the subconscious, where all fiction begins, before it’s ready to be transmuted. Maybe it needs to embitter you (laughs) for a few years before you can use it in that way. I don’t do any teaching but I sometimes give talks in colleges to young and emerging writers and the one thing I always say is that it’s really hard to write about what happened to you last week or even last year. It can just be too soon. It needs time to compost, to get murky, before it’s ready to come into your work.

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