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George Saunders on the mystery of storytelling

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
1 min read

So if I’m going to start sharing the good stuff with you here on the site, it’s going to have to be the good stuff. And it doesn’t get much better than this video of George Saunders talking about storytelling and the writing process.

This resonates with me:

“My experience is to have some idea of what the story is, and sometimes it’s just the tiniest kernel of something you enjoyed writing. Then, once you put it on the page and rewrite it and rewrite it, it’s actually your own discontent with that in some slow, mysterious way, urges it to higher ground. And often it’ll do so in ways that surprise you.”

Discontent is the word. Perfect.

As a writer, you edit and work at something until you reach a point where you are… content. Not delighted or cock-a-hoop, necessarily. But content that the words are in order. That you’ve done what you can for the story.

If you watch the video on Vimeo, you’ll find links to some extra clips that are also worth your time. Saunders talks about writing tricks and having a quality ‘needle’ and again, it rings completely true to me.

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I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.