On The Second Magician’s Tale

You build on so many interesting and intricate details about many areas of life – rural, urban, small town, academic, even circuses. I wonder how you accumulate your knowledge and if you’ve ever been tempted to resort to a team of research assistants as someone like James Michener did. Could you address this using astrology, which is so integral to the The Second Magician’s Tale, as a particular example?

 —Mary Byers, Minneapolis, Minnesota

To start right in with the Michener question, Mary, like most writers, I couldn’t afford a research staff even if I wanted one. Read more…

How do you go about developing structure for a novel? Is it part of an initial plan, or does it evolve as you develop your material? Or maybe some combination of both?

—Kathleen Jesme, Inver Grove Heights

Kath, I believe it was Annie Dillard who once said structure is everything in writing a book, and that certainly includes novels. Probably novels above all. I’ll be straightforward and say that structuring a novel is the largest task I’ve encountered as a writer. Read more…

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