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Quotation of the Week: Thrity Umrigar


“But that’s not what this story is about. It’s about how the worlds of journalism and fiction writing are not as unimaginably different as one might think. About how, in the end, there are only two kinds of writing—good writing and the mediocre kind. The transition from one genre to another is not as difficult as some people think.”

–Thrity Umrigar

Source: Journalist/novelist/memoirist Thrity Umrigar’s contribution to the Nieman Reports “Writing the Book” issue.

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  1. Thanks for alerting me to this article, Erika! It gave rise to thoughts that are probably too long-winded to be contained in a comment, but, speaking as someone who made a similar transition, I agree with a lot of it. I would just add that while writing journalism and writing fiction may involve similar skills, in a way there’s something more honest about writing fiction. That may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s not easy to genuinely capture some other real person’s “interiority.” Whereas when you’re writing about fictional characters, no one knows them better than you do–not even they themselves.

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