Novelist at Work: Allegra Goodman

Maybe you’ve already seen the excellent article for fiction writers tucked into the “Science Times” section of yesterday’s New York Times. If not, you’ll have to register to read Gina Kolata’s “Writer Depicts Scientists Risking Glory for Truth and Truth for Glory” online. Meantime, here’s a summary:

Allegra Goodman’s new novel, Intuition (Dial Press), is, in Kolata’s words, “a tale about life in a science lab that rings so true and includes details so accurate and vivid that [scientists] say they are left reeling.”

Goodman is not a scientist. So some have wondered how “an outsider, someone who has not been bathed in the culture and mores of science,” “could get it so right?”

Well, apparently her research process has something to do with it. And that’s what the article details.

To return to one of my favorite arguments–writing what you know does not necessarily mean writing what you have (already) lived. You can learn to know what you write, too.