Writing advice from Andre Dubus III

Andre Dubus was the keynote speaker at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop this summer and he was charming, kind, quick, and smart.


Here are a few highlights from his talk and craft class:

  • Write for the truth of the story.
  • Be willing to fail.
  • What we ask of a book: “Give me me.” We want to see a part of our humanity.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others, or if you do, contend with it in your head not your heart.
  • Mystery is good. The deeper you go into images and characters, the more mysterious they become. We do not pin characters down.
  • Abstract = bad. Concrete = good. General = bad. Concrete = good.
  • From Flannery O’Connor: writers can do whatever they can get away with, which isn’t much.

If you and I can manage to follow this advice, we’ll be golden.

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