Great interview with Charles Baxter in the latest issue of The Missouri Review in which he discusses his new novel (The Soul Thief) and writing and the writing life.

I loved, especially, what he had to say about writing novels vs writing stories–what you learn (or don’t learn) from each:

The novel is a very forgiving form. I spent years of my life writing bad novels that were never published because I didn’t realize the mistakes I was making. I only figured out how to do it by writing short stories.

When asked what those mistakes were, Baxter replied:

I thought it was enough to write great sentences and that I didn’t have to know how people actually behaved. I had these implausible characters. It was kind of a hallucinatory, bogus world. I was trying to impress people. I was thinking too much about the audience. I was gripped by a form of literary bad faith.

The entire interview is filled with such gems. Read it.

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