You’ve talked a bit about the difference between how we process trauma internally and how we present that processing to the world and how that relates to fiction.That made me think of the female characters in “Virgins,” who recount a past instance of shared sexual assault only briefly.
For a lot of the characters there’s that moment when they consider the decision, consider the possibility of a different course of action, and move forward anyway.
It was important to me, especially in thinking about adolescence and particularly female adolescence, to write characters whose problematic behavior came from complexity and not from lack of comprehension.
It’s there as a thing she believes to be a fact about what the world is.
Some characters will come right out and name their trauma and some will circle it through the end of the story, so for me it comes down to asking where is this person in relation to this moment, or this piece of information?
Georgie always tries to do the right thing and tries to help people, but he ends up failing, no matter what.
How will your characters react when you pluck them from their current situation and force them to deal with similar stressors in a different setting? What have you found are the most effective ways to approach moments of trauma in your work? As we talked about a little bit in the discussion after the reading, the space between our public selves and our private selves really is the space of fiction.When is a character performing being OK because it’s a way of reclaiming a thing that hurt, and when is that character fearing a context that will punish her for being vulnerable, and when is that character trying to please people who will be angry or inconvenienced by her failure to be silent, and when does a character really not know that something is allowed to hurt, or how to express it?Can you feel that tension when you’re writing them?Danielle Evans: I don’t think of most of the stories in the collection in terms of impulsivity, because of that moment of hesitation you describe.In working on your second short story collection and a novel simultaneously, what are some of the things you’ve enjoyed about each mode of writing?