Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sonya Chung on where she finds her characters

Where do you find your characters? What inspires you to write?

People are so darn interesting and complex and strange; everyone has a story that is layered and mysterious and to some degree incomprehensible. Everyone is damaged and gifted. Everyone is ambivalent about everything. Everyone. So the work for me is not coming up with characters, but paring down and choosing from the crowd in my head. It’s the mystery and complexity that inspire me most -- what does this person’s life or situation mean? How do we make sense of all this weirdness in life? Chekhov is a touchstone for me, in that he didn’t worry too much about plot points; his primary goal was to show/render/reveal a life, a character, a moment -- as honestly as possible. Story, I think, is born from there.


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