Salient points [#8] – Hilary Mantel on short fiction

It’s always a pleasure to read and, in this case linked below, hear writers of all kinds who are somehow kindred. In the following audio clip (6’) Hilary Mantel points out many fireflies for writers to note. For me she offers a fitting finale when she raises a torch I saw first passed on by Vonnegut when he advised writers of short fiction to make each line reveal character or advance action.

Here are some salient points from Mantel to listen out for…

(2:00) “It took many attempts, over the years… because it’s a short story people shouldn’t think necessarily that you are looking at a short process.”

(3:46) “Is it the job of a writer to primarily consider questions of taste, or safety, or consensus. Or being on the right side of the Establishment?”

(5:30) “My only hesitation was how to make it work. I didn’t think that I should censor myself.”

(6:03) “In a short fiction, every word has to do its job. It has to be the right word in exactly the right place.”

Hilary Mantel Margaret Thatcher
Click the portrait to hear Hilary Mantel discussing her short “The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher” and so much more
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