"I was gripped by a form of literary bad faith"

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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