In many cases, omitting character occupation comprises a missed opportunity for further character development, plot construction, and inclusion of conflict. It renders the character vague, the way failing to denote place in a story makes it seem to occur nowhere.
Someone asked F. Scott Fitzgerald what the 1920s were like. He said it was a time when you thought something was going to happen in the next thirty minutes that would alter your life forever.
—William Gay, interviewed by Sybil Baker
Fiction is, in that way, a wonderful thing. It is made-up stuff, lies, but it won't let you lie about the important things. If you lie about the important things, if you come up with something that is false, really false, the story will spit it out and let you know it.
Everyone has a little bit of dirt on their hands. I wanted all of these characters to be empathetic, even if you weren't necessarily going to forgive them for what they did.
—Celeste Ng, interviewed by David Naimon
My bad periods of writing are always when I'm in a bad reading stretch. That's why I never understand people who say they don't want to read contemporary fiction when they're writing. I have to have it or else my own work feels dead.
—Kent Wascom, interviewed by Jennifer Levasseur and Kevin Rabalais
I would say that there are some moments in life that have been more exciting than the coming up of a story. The birth of my children, for instance. But even then, literature has provided me with the images and the words to try and hold on to that and understand what was happening.
—Alberto Manguel, interviewed by Jennifer Levasseur and Kevin Rabalais
One of the ways that you get free heavy lifting from readers is by blurring that line between fiction and biography, a confusion that adds an extra serving of real to the tale.
—Junot Díaz, interviewed by David Naimon