The flashback begins immediately, within the scene: By the end of the first chapter, Grodstein has taken Pete—and the reader—through three distinct time periods: Thirty years earlier, inthe narrator, Jo, lived in a house with a group of roommates, and one of those roommates was murdered.
What suggestions do you have for new writers? A bad review serves a purpose: Where do your characters come from? How to manipulate it, whether it should be linear or nonlinear, and what that choice means for a story. The reader wants to know: Mine is in the third.
I usually start reading something I love, and that gets me going again. What kind of research do you do before and during a new book? I was interested in the way this particular job allows no room for error whatsoever — no room for distraction, no room for miscalculation. Fortunately, I followed the more conscientious path.
The story returns to the present, and he finally shows up. She spreads out, spending some chapters in just one or two time periods. If the book comes easily, this daily grind lasts a few months.
The editing that follows is more leisurely — and I let myself eat breakfast before I get started. Does it have anything to do with why Pete is living above the garage? If the rules are established too late, the reader can become anxious and distracted, and at worst completely alienated.
My new book is about a physician, so to write it I found myself interviewing a lot of physicians, reading what I could understand of JAMA and The New England Journal of Medicine, and going to online medical sites.
Do you visit the places you write about? I tend to write about places I know very well, but I do make research visits as I go, in part because I love researching, and in part because I love travel. Part of her advice was that I reconsider the timeline of my novel, which now progresses linearly.
It starts with a similarly intriguing line: Eventually, the questions she promised to answer in the first chapter are answered, and we catch up to the present. When I was a kid, I used to lie — not to get myself out of trouble, but just to make the world a more interesting place.
Like these two novels, mine has a secret at the heart of it that resurfaces, but both Miller and Grodstein withhold their secrets until nearly the end.
Find a community of writers — either on-line or in person. On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time? We know there will be more scenes in each period, and there might be even more periods, and we expect jumps within chapters. Her latest release is A Friend of the Family.
If yes, what measures do you take to get past it? How can this be avoided? I get up early — maybe 6: She has been writing since childhood but became a published author When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?Writing a novel about illness and family is a tricky act.
Books fitting this description range from heartfelt drama to saccharine weep fest. But thinking about facing a terminal disease, it’s grace that we’d most like to find at the end.
Independent of this advice, I’ve been feeling more and more strongly that in the first chapter or two of a novel, the writer teaches the reader how to read the book, sets expectations, makes promises.
Lauren Grodstein is the author of the four novels including the bestselling A Friend of the Family, which was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, a New York Times Editor's Pick, and an Indie Next mi-centre.com teaches creative writing at Rutgers University.
"Lauren Grodstein has written a book with such a complicated range of emotion that I can't quite understand how she does it. In highlighting the fragility and depth of the relationship between a parent and a child, Grodstein miraculously makes you love the complexity of this world even as it tears you apart.
“Lauren Grodstein has written a book with such a complicated range of emotion that I can't quite understand how she does it.
In highlighting the fragility and depth of the relationship between a parent and a child, Grodstein miraculously makes you love the complexity of this world even as it tears you apart. Lauren Grodstein: Well, Karen is more than just a cancer patient: she’s all the things she was before she was a cancer patient (and maybe more so).
And since she was smart and tough and funny and stubborn before her diagnosis, she .Download