Author | Freelance Writer | Entrepreneur | Speaker and Workshop Leader

Larry Brown on Writing

On reading:

“Reading, for pleasure and knowledge, has always been, will always be one of my favorite things to do. (from A Writer’s Life by Jean W. Cash)”

On going to bars for his material:

“It’s one of the things I’ve been around, and one of the things I’m still around. It’s one of the things I know the best. I go to a bar for awhile and then I don’t go back no more. I just kinda move around.”

On writing from one’s own place:

“You take what you’re given, whether it’s the cornfields of the Midwest or the coal mines of West Virginia, and you make your fiction out of it. It’s all you have. And somehow, wherever you are, it always seems to be enough.”

On planning:

“I don’t plan ahead for things. All you gotta have is a character and a place and a situation and what’s going on. Then introduce another character into it. Have these two people interact and see what happens with them. And then find out all these other things that have been going on in the past. To me it’s really fascinating to see what they’re gonna do next. And then they do something totally unexpected, something you did not see coming. And then you know–Bang!–that’s what’s going on here. That’s the payoff for me.”

On trouble:

“That sex, that’s what starts all the trouble. Maybe not starts it, but it sure adds fuel to the fire. The worse you can make in on your characters the better. Sand bag ’em. I try to start with trouble on the first page.”

On ending:

“I think when you can’t do any else for for your character. When you can’t help ’em anymore, then you know it’s over. You’ve done all you can do for ’em.”

Here’s a nice section from Gary Hawkins’s impressive film, The Rough South of Larry Brown.

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