The character-centric writer: Celeste Ng

Author Celeste Ng’s next book tackles motherhood, race and rules Author Celeste Ng.( Kevin Day Photography) I’m wedged between aisles of books at the Harvard Bookstore on a rainy Tuesday in October, clutching the hardcover of Little Fires Everywhere , Celeste Ng’s latest. It has only been a week since I finished Everything I Never Told You, the author’s 2014 award-winning debut; wondering why I hadn’t done it sooner. It’s the kind of sensitive, layered story, with nuanced writing that I’ve always aspired to write. So, it is wonderful that I’m here, in a city I haven’t even completed two months in, listening to a writer I know will impact my future writing. Celeste Ng’s new book Little Fires Everywhere. Over the next 40 odd minutes, Ng explains how she balances intuitive writing and elements that need active work. She can’t “see” how bits fall into place without first perfecting the rhythms of the language. Plot, therefore, and the conflict that is essential to drive narratives forward, is something she needs to consciously tackle. She suggests viewing plot through the characters, through their situations and desires, and how to get them to those final points in a narrative arc. […]

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