Steven Amsterdam is the author of Things We Didn’t See Coming (The Age Book of the Year, winner; The Guardian First Book Award, shortlist) and What the Family Needed (Encore Award shortlist; International IMPAC Award longlist). He has taught writing workshops across Australia. His new novel, The Easy Way Out, will be published in September 2016.
What keeps you writing fiction?
No clue. I’m not one of these people who sits down to write and the stories flow out of my fingers – the oft-used metaphor of pulling teeth is more apt. The satisfaction comes from the sum of the process – the dreamy beginnings of a first draft, the moments of distraction from the real world when I’m trying to figure out my alternate one, and the hard clarifying math that’s involved in getting the story to a final draft. This is how it happens and keeps happening.
Which process is more challenging for you: the initial draft or the rewriting?
For me, the initial draft is much more difficult. It feels like night driving without headlights, around and through all the swerves and half-visible sights that might not even make it to the next draft. It just seems like such an inefficient way to produce something, and yet I have to keep remembering that it’s the only way.
What advice do yo have for short story writers who’ve had some initial success?
Keep writing – and reading, of course.
Join Steven for The Joys of Revision: Short Stories at the NSW Writers’ Centre on Saturday 20 August 10am-4pm.