Inez Baranay, our Year of the Novel tutor, answers 10 quick questions about being a novelist, writing rooms and resembling the Red Queen.
1. Favourite novel?
The next one I will write. It’s the one I long for most consistently. I have so many favourite novels by other writers I could never name just one.
2. Best thing about being a novelist?
A life of freedom.
3. And worst thing?
A life of restriction.
4. Character from a novel that’s stayed with you?
Alice in Wonderland. (Though some friends say I now resemble the Red Queen.)
5. Biggest mistake people make in novel writing?
Each novel makes its own rules, creates its own universe, has its own time zones and in its creation has its own potential mistakes. But I could answer this in another way and say: Thinking of a first draft as a last draft, being in too much of a hurry to consider it done.
6. Define good writing in three words.
Indefinable. Unmistakeable. Debatable.
7. What does Melbourne “City of Literature” mean to you?
I’m not from here. There do seem to be more literary events down here, and they’re popular too. That’s part of Melbourne’s character and reputation. And the op shops have really good cheap books.
8. Describe your writing room.
For a long time it’s been a temporary space, but always a private room with a desk and the feel of a place I can write in.
9. What’s a day in the (working) life of you like?
There are so many days. On a good day I feel I’ve done some good writing, but I might end up changing my mind. On a bad day I don’t feel it at all, though it may end up having produced useful thoughts. I need coffee and solitude. I always write in the mornings and sometimes at other times.
10. Describe creative writing workshops in three words.
Conversation. Collaboration. Experimentation.