A Novel is Like a Marriage

David Foster Wallace world copyright Giovanni Giovannetti/effigie
David Foster Wallace 1962-2008

Novels are like marriages. You have to get into the mood to write them — not because of what writing them is going to be like, but because it’s so sad to end them. When I finished my first book, I really felt like I’d fallen in love with my main character and that she’d died. You have to understand, writing a novel gets very weird and invisible-friend-from-childhood-ish, then you kill that thing, which was never really alive except in your imagination, and you’re supposed to go buy groceries and talk to people at parties and stuff. Characters in stories are different. They come alive in the corners of your eyes. You don’t have to live with them.


2 Replies to “A Novel is Like a Marriage”

  1. This is a very astute observation. Sometimes I think that I’m dragging out the ending to the book I’m currently working on because I don’t want to leave these characters. They have become so much a part of my world, or should I say, I have become a part of theirs.


    1. They do become real people. I had something similar, but it was this big, love able Lab. I wrote a big fight scene in a house, the attacker was a female killer, and she injured two protagonists first. The the dog took her down, but I decided he had to die doing so. Ultimate sacrifice. Tore me up, but it was right for the scene’s drama.


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