William Norris has taught for Hofstra University, the New School, the College of New Rochelle, and the Gotham Writers Workshop in New York City. He has written for Time Out: NY and The Hartford Courant, is the author of Snapshots: A Novel and has published photographs with The Star Ledger, The Associated Press, and Saltwater Sportsman.
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Behind the Writing of Snapshots By William Norris
Before I started Snapshots I had never tried to write a novel. The
form seemed daunting, and I couldnt wrap my mind around its demands or the
level of commitment required to see a novel length work through to completion.
Instead, I wrote short fiction, much of it, in retrospect, not very good short
fiction, and sent my pieces off to journals and magazines without success.
During that time, I wrote four or five stories with the same cast of characters; a family called the Mahoneys. There were four children, and I had written pieces narrated by three of them. I begin to envision a collection of linked stories narrated by each member of the family, but found myself blocked when I attempted to write a story told by Nora, the youngest member of the clan. I sat down each writing day, determined to get Noras voice right on the page, but when I read the work over the next morning, it was clear that I wasnt even close. Everything I tried felt flat and forced.
Then, one morning in the summer of 1997, I typed, "Nora wakes first and toddles to the television hulking silently in the living room." It was the first time I had come at these characters in the ...
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