Secret Library Podcast


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#156 Meg Wolitzer

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The idea of an emotional outline is one of the greatest discoveries I've had while recording an episode.

Speaking with Meg Wolitzer was fantastic, as she's not only a successful novelist, but also on the faculty for an MFA program. I love writers who are able to discuss the process from multiple viewpoints, as it is this overlap that often brings huge insight.

Of course, we all have thought about making outlines for plot and to lay out the major moments in the story. But it was new to me in this conversation that, at a certain stage in the writing, Meg Wolitzer likes to make an emotional outline as well, where she lays out the arc of the story and the impact and goals she has for a book on that level.

In addition, we get into things that can go awry in the middle of the writing process, what it's been like for her to experience a huge upswing in her visibility as a writer, and the impact it's had on her writing. We also get into writing about hot-button topics and how to be certain you write a book that matters to you and the reader.

I couldn't have asked for a better interview to wrap this season up with before our final solo episode before the break next week. You're going to learn so much from this conversation!

Happy listening.

Discussed in Episode 156 with Meg Wolitzer

  • The change that happens after your book has been out in the world

  • Naming characters well

  • Remembering how to actually enjoy your writing

  • How a large readership can (or cannot) influence your writing

  • Becoming a teacher and mentor to younger writers

  • Getting through the repetition of writing

  • The idea of an emotional outline

Links and Resources

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