V.V. “Sugi” Ganeshananthan (Zell Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Michigan and author of Love Marriage, long-listed for The Orange Prize) gave a great workshop last Saturday at 826michigan on what fiction writers can learn from journalists. I’m happy to report that there was a record turn-out for the “How To Write Like I Do” series. Below are some quotes (somewhat paraphrased due to handwritten notes) that I found useful:
On how a journalist’s work ethic is useful for writing fiction: “Being a journalist demands a serious output. You can’t be scared [and procrastinate] or you won’t get any work done.”
Why would anyone be interested in being interviewed by a fiction writer?: “People don’t get to talk about themselves much anymore in this age of social media. And experts love talking about themselves. […] It can also be novel for [experts] to be interviewed by a fiction writer. It reminds them how much they enjoy reading fiction.”
The journalist’s unofficial motto: “The worst thing that can happen is they’ll say ‘no’ and you’ll be in the same place you started. So why not ask?”
If you’re a writer living in SE Michigan, make sure to mark the next “How To Write Like I Do” workshop on your calendar. Doug Trevor, winner of the 2005 Iowa Short Fiction Award, will be teaching “The Richness of Place: Setting in Fiction” on May 5.