Thursday, 27 February 2014

WRITERS ON WRITING #44: Georges Simenon

Unconsciously I probably always have two or three, not novels, not ideas about novels, but themes in my mind.  I never even think that they might serve for a novel; more exactly, they are the things about which I worry.  Two days before I start writing a novel I consciously take up one of those ideas.  But even before I consciously take it up I first find some atmosphere.  Today there is a little sunshine here.  I might remember such-and-such a spring, maybe in some small Italian town, or some place in the French provinces or in Arizona, I don’t know, and then, little by little, a small world will come into my mind, with a few characters.  Those characters will be taken partly from people I have known and partly from pure imagination — you know, it’s a complex of both.  And then the idea I had before will come and stick around them.  They will have the same problem I have in my mind myself.  And the problem — with those people — will give me the soon as I have the beginning I can’t bear it very long; so the next day I take my envelope, take my telephone book for names, and take my town map — you know, to see exactly where things happen.  And two days later I begin writing.  And the beginning will be always the same; it is almost a geometrical problem: I have such a man, such a woman, in such surroundings.  What can happen to them to oblige them to go to their limit?  That’s the question.  It will be sometimes a very simple incident, anything which will change their lives.  Then I write my novel chapter by chapter.

The Art of Fiction #9 [The Paris Review #9, Summer 1955)

Click HERE to read the full GEORGES SIMENON interview by CARVEL COLLINS posted in the online archive of The Paris Review. 

You might also enjoy:
WRITERS ON WRITING #13: François Mauriac
WRITERS ON WRITING #12: Simone de Beauvoir 

No comments:

Post a Comment