Comment of the Day: Margaret Atwood on How She Writes

Today, we learned some reasons to always be kind to crows, conquered alien empires on the most important battlefield of all (our minds), and got the inside scoop on Margaret Atwood's writing process from the world's foremost Margaret Atwood expert: Margaret Atwood.

Joining us for a Q&A on her apocalypse trilogy (beginning with Oryx and Crake), Atwood shared her thoughts on topics ranging from her favorite word in the English language ("How about 'and'? It's so optimistic. And its story never ends, and..."), what a character with no sense of inner-self might look like ("Possibly Cruella DeVil? She sees no need to restrain herself. Puppies!"), and, in response to a question from commenter Tashar, just why she structured her trilogy the way she did:

I didn't originally intend to write three. But I am a Victorianist, and therefore familiar with modes of storytelling that are not linear. In fact very old writing tends not to be simply plot-driven and linear. The 1001 Nights, for instance. The Iliad, the Odyssey, And in the 19th C, Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, The Turn of the Screw, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.. boxes with boxes, stories within stories. I suppose I like layers of experience: it looks like this from here, but go down here and a whole different vista opens up. As happens when we meet a person, then delve into who they really are. Never judge a person by lipstick alone.


Illustration: Jason_C

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