"So that's the fine balance of a fiction writer...to be able to give your characters enough freedom to surprise you and yet still maintain some kind of artistic control. You are constantly balancing between those two opposing forces."
"Every semester I get writers who are much more gifted than I am -- and more gifted than others -- and you can see they have this natural ability. I've seen over the years that doesn't make a whit of difference. You need something else."