Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The geometrical problem

with one comment

Georges Simenon

Unconsciously I probably always have two or three, not novels, not ideas about novels, but themes in my mind. I never even think that they might serve for a novel; more exactly, they are the things about which I worry. Two days before I start writing a novel I consciously take up one of those ideas. But even before I consciously take it up I first find some atmosphere…[The] characters will be taken partly from people I have known and partly from pure imagination—you know, it’s a complex of both. And then the idea I had before will come and stick around them. They will have the same problem I have in my mind myself. And the problem—with those people—will give me the novel…

As soon as I have the beginning I can’t bear it very long; so the next day I take my envelope, take my telephone book for names, and take my town map—you know, to see exactly where things happen. And two days later I begin writing. And the beginning will be always the same; it is almost a geometrical problem: I have such a man, such a woman, in such surroundings. What can happen to them to oblige them to go to their limit? That’s the question. It will be sometimes a very simple incident, anything which will change their lives. Then I write my novel chapter by chapter.

Georges Simenon, to The Paris Review

Written by nevalalee

August 2, 2015 at 7:30 am

One Response

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  1. loveee

    pimlottnarelle

    August 2, 2015 at 8:35 pm


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