Happy Birthday, Jonathan Franzen, born 17 August 1959
- But the first lesson reading teaches is how to be alone.
- Fiction, I believed, was the transmutation of experiential dross into linguistic gold. Fiction meant taking up whatever the world had abandoned by the road and making something beautiful out of it.
- It’s just a matter of writing the kind of book I enjoy reading. Something better be happening at the beginning, and then on every page after, or I get irritated.
- I used to think it was hard to write, and I still find the process more or less unpleasant, but if I know what I’m doing it rattles along, then the rewrite whips it into shape rather quickly.
- More and more, I think of novel writing as a kind of deliberate dreaming.
Jonathan Franzen’s 10 Rules For Writing Fiction
- The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.
- Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.
- Never use the word “then” as a conjunction – we have “and” for this purpose. Substituting “then” is the lazy or tone-deaf writer’s non-solution to the problem of too many “ands” on the page.
- Write in the third person unless a really distinctive first-person voice offers itself irresistibly.
- When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it.
- The most purely autobiographical fiction requires pure invention. Nobody ever wrote a more autobiographical story than “The Metamorphosis”.
- You see more sitting still than chasing after.
- It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.
- Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.
- You have to love before you can be relentless.
Jonathan Franzen is an American novelist and essayist. His novels include the titles Freedom and The Corrections. Franzen also writes for The New Yorker magazine.