‘As time goes by, the number of books out there is only greater,’ says Lionel Shriver. ‘It takes nerve to believe that anyone needs another one.’ The hardest, most important, but least addressed of the creative process is that unsettled interval when you decide on your next project.
Lionel Shriver, whose international bestseller We Need to Talk About Kevin won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2005, ponders the questions that arise during that murky period. Why did I write the novels I’ve written? What dictates my subject matter? What should dictate my subject matter? With the ever-increasing number of manuscripts circulating, why the fatheaded insistence on writing yet another? And what about those subjects that readers might wish novelists to tackle but which are usually avoided?