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A 'One Story' Q&A with Douglas Watson

BOA fiction author Douglas Watson discusses the writing process, his new book, and the best writing advice he has ever gotten.

Watson_websitephoto Douglas Watson’s “The Messenger Who Did Not Become A Hero”—the final story in his forthcoming short story collection The Era of Not Quite (BOA, May 2013)—will be published in One Story on April 8. Before releasing the story, the magazine ran an interview with Watson, a Q&A that yields side-splitting laughter and much, much more. In the Q&A, Watson shares his thoughts and insights on the writing process, on how his work for Time Magazine has affected his writing career, and on some of his writing endeavors and projects (particularly, one that involves a moody fellow named Moody Fellow). On writing, Watson considers himself a “creature with no eyes” until he has a first draft, which then allows him to "figure out what the story is really about.” He finds that his work at Time greatly affects the way he writes ("sharpen[s his] writing at the sentence level”), and when talking about his past and present projects, Watson explains his motivation for writing: "...I write, by the way: to play, to have fun. You’re not really supposed to have fun as an adult, but if you say, 'I’m working on a novel,' people furrow their brows and nod and imagine you scaling some great height, without a rope, under a baking sun. And, sure, writing is a little bit like that, but it can also be a little bit like playtime when you were a kid. Kids love to make things up, after all; they’re natural fiction writers. But we can’t pay them to write stories. Child-labor laws forbid it. That’s where adult fiction writers come in." The best writing advice Douglas Watson has ever gotten? "I like Goethe’s admonition: 'Do not hurry. Do not rest.' I don’t know if he had writing in mind when he said that or if he was just talking about how to live well. Maybe he was training for a half-marathon, I don’t know. In any case, it is very good advice for a writer." Douglas Watson will be one of the seven featured 2013 One Story Literary Debutantes, to be honored at the annual One Story Literary Debutante Ball, this summer. The event will take place on Thursday, June 6, at Roulette in Brooklyn, NY, and will include music, dancing, food, and specialty cocktails. To read the full Q&A, click here. Be one of the first to own The Era of Not Quite — Pre-order a copy, today!
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