Keeping Faith in the Process w. R.O. KWON

Author photo by Smeeta Mahanti.

Author photo by Smeeta Mahanti.

Keeping Faith in the Process w. R.O. KWON

R.O. Kwon’s nationally bestselling first novel, The Incendiaries, is published by Riverhead, and it is being translated into five languages. Named a best book of the year by over forty publications, it is an American Booksellers Association Indie Next #1 Pick and an Indies Introduce selection. The Incendiaries was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award for Best First Book, Los Angeles Times First Book Prize, and Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Prize. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Paris Review, BuzzFeed, NPR, and elsewhere. 

Discussed In This Episode

Faith in religion and faith in writing. Spacing out with words. Writing your closest pain into the character who’s least like you demographically. When are you writing from your depths? Plausible deniability. “For me, facts get in the way of truth.” Throwing everything away and changing POV. What the book wants to be. What you know about your characters that does not make it onto the page. The “scraps” document. The joy of writing by hand. Memorize more poems! Poetry Twitter. “Lexical inevitability.” What women are supposed to want. Finding models of what you want to be in the world. “Trauma is the story that’s often expected of marginalized writers. You don’t owe anyone your trauma.” Point of view vs. point of telling (with a h/t to Alexander Chee). Why is the story being told?

Bonus Segment: Writers on Faith

R.O. recommends some of her favorite writers on the subject of faith.

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