For inspiration this week, I re-read The Paris Review’s 1993 interview with Toni Morrison. You can find the entire interview here.
Here’s a sampling:
What are your tools? I’m not picky, but my preference is for yellow legal pads and a nice number two pencil.
Does your first draft idea come in a flash? No, it’s a sustained thing I have to play with. I always start out with an idea, even a boring idea, that becomes a question I don’t have any answers to.
What do you think of contracts? I never signed a contract until the book was finished because I didn’t want it to be homework. A contract meant somebody was waiting for it, that I had to do it, and they could ask me about it. They could get up in my face and I don’t like that.
Do you base your characters on real people? I feel the most intelligent, and the most free, and the most excited, when my characters are fully invented people. That’s part of the excitement. If they’re based on somebody else, in a funny way it’s an infringement of a copyright. That person owns his life, has a patent on it. It shouldn’t be available for fiction.