1. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    How Tobias Wolff feels about the words "You can't write that story."

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by blackstar21595, Aug 3, 2013.

    I was reading one of Wolff's interviews, which can be found herehttp://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/5391/the-art-of-fiction-no-183-tobias-wolff, and this is a small excerpt from it that intrigued me, mostly because I read the story he mentioned and enjoyed it. I figure I share it since he mentions the "seven types of stories" as well.And the story that Wolff is referencing is "Passengers" in his short story collection "In the Garden of the North American Martyr"

    INTERVIEWER

    You can’t stomach rules about writing—I’ve heard that when you were younger, if someone told you a story couldn’t be written, that was all the more reason for you to write it.

    W O L F F

    Oh, that was a provocation, absolutely. I remember in particular one occasion when I was in a workshop at Stanford back in 1975, and one of us brought in a story with a hitchhiker in it, and somebody in the workshop said, Oh, you can’t write a hitchhiking story, hitchhiking stories have all been written, they’re old hat from the get. I left the workshop that night and went home and started writing a hitchhiking story. There’s no story that’s used up. People say things like, There are really only seven stories. Well, no. There’re as many stories as there are ways to imagine stories, and there are an infinite number of ways to imagine stories, and for them to be brand-new after you’ve done it. I figure I share it since he also mentions the famous "there are only seven types of stories."

    INTERVIEWER

    How’d that story turn out?

    WOLFF

    It was a pretty decent story, I think.

    INTERVIEWER

    Does that challenge still apply?

    WOLFF

    I no longer have time to react to other people’s opinions.
     
  2. NeonFraction
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    NeonFraction Member

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    I feel like this is a great article. There's no story that is ruined from the start. It's not the canvas, it's how the canvas is painted.
     

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