Truer than Truth: Life Experience Transformed into Story in Alden Jones’ Unaccompanied Minors
I recently had a chance to talk about the writing craft with the brilliant and fascinating Alden Jones, who’s made a splash this year with two great new books: a highly acclaimed travel memoir and a short fiction collection that is among the best I’ve read in the last few years. In the interview, which is now up at Fiction Writers Review, we talk about some of the differences between writing fiction and nonfiction, how exotic and/or extreme experiences can be transmuted into narrative, the benefits of publishing your work with small presses, and much more. Here’s a quick excerpt:
“I especially like to explore characters who think they understand their motives, when really they are after something entirely different than they think they are. But I think some contemporary fiction writers condescend to their characters this way—for example, I love Jonathan Franzen, but sometimes I wonder if he spends hundreds of pages developing a character for the purpose of exposing every single shortcoming, mining for humor at the character’s expense—and I don’t want to do that. I like to think I respect my characters, but know them better than they happen to know themselves in the particular situation in which I’ve placed them.”
Good stuff. You can read the full interview here.