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Five Questions with Jessica McEntee

1) When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I can't isolate a single 'aha' moment. I felt I was always going to be a writer.

2) What do you love most about the writing process?

I love when my conscious brain shuts off and I'm able to access a mysterious subterranean place. Later, I look back at what I've written with surprise.

3) What do you love most about teaching writing?

I really love the challenge of responding in the moment to what I've just heard. I consider everything from macro issues (i.e. how does this relate to overall plot/character arc) to tinier tweaks or refinements. I love when we as a group become collaborators, pulling for each other. We're invested in each other's stories, and we feel eager to hear more as they evolve. We make suggestions for next steps in the plot, or we bring a new insight into a character or situation.

4) What are you reading right now?

I'm reading Zoe Heller's The Believers. I'm not as taken with it as I was with her earlier book, Notes on a Scandal; she's know for writing "unlikable" characters, and yet I'm finding these protagonists a little too crusty. They are, however, complex and full-blooded, and Heller's writing itself is nimble. I'm an anglophile, and I love all of her British-isms.

5) What's your favorite writing quote?

I admire the E.L. Doctorow image of writing as being like driving at night in the fog; you can only discern what's immediately ahead of you. Personally, I'm not one for outlining, and I enjoy uncovering what my characters are going to do and allowing them to guide me.

Learn more about Jessie and her spring workshops HERE.

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