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Presenter: Hello, everyone. This is your favorite weekly program ‘Writers.’ Today, we are happy to have here Vanessa Silva, the famous writer who has won numerous awards for her short fiction. Her novels are described as extraordinary, miracle, moving, yet funny. Hello Vanessa.
Vanessa: Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me.
Presenter: I’ve always wanted to know how people understand they were born to write books. You see, a writer is not a common profession. When did you first start writing?
Vanessa: I started writing when I was still a child. I produced a newspaper at the age of six. The first issue was written in blue crayon. I wrote dreadful poetry when I was in my teens. I’ve still got it, and it makes me giggle. I didn’t write much apart from comedy skits and sketches until I started writing fiction properly in late 2002.
Presenter: How did you go about starting your first novel?
Vanessa: I remember I was once shopping in Brighton, during a thunderstorm. I dashed into a book shop and I picked up a random book. I drove home, sat down with some tea in my wet trousers, and I didn’t get up again until I had finished it — four hundred pages. I have to thank that man so much. That’s when I turned from someone who had bought a book to someone who had become a writer. It pushed the switch. It unlocked the feeling of ‘I want to do this.’
Presenter: Apart from being a writer, you are also a lecturer. How did you get into teaching?
Vanessa: I think I’d found the thing that I loved doing, and I wanted to pass on the love of doing it. I’m a totally no-academic tutor. I’m very craft-based, and I try to open up creativity in people, literally, in every person.
Presenter: Do you believe everybody has a story to tell?
Vanessa: I think that storytelling is almost innate in us. People sat round fires in caves in the Stone Age, telling each other stories. I don’t think they would have just said: ‘I went off and got a mammoth today.’ We have an ability to hang on to important facts, and drip-feed people with the important bits. You don’t give it all up-front. You make the want to know the next bit. Keep them involved by creating the character that draws them in and putting that character in a situation they can empathize with. Make the reader want to find out how they resolve this thing.
Presenter: What is your advice for writers who are just starting?
Vanessa: Read as much as you can, not just the things you are told to read by parents, tutors, and reviewers. Read anything – both good books and bad ones. Whatever genre you want to work in, you’ve got to get a sense for when you’re improving. Write as much as you can, and at some point you will find that the words take on a shape and rhythm of their own. It’s almost a physical thing, to recognize what it feels like. That moment when you change from being the person in charge of the pen, to someone not deliberately creating something. You’ll find the point when a character takes off and does their own thing. You need to recognize that and not refuse to let the character do what they want. Don’t use the characters as the puppet. Be a tool to the character, so you’re following along behind them. Listen to your own instincts as a writer and then edit. That may mean cutting a huge amount of words, or cutting down a story by a third. I think a lot of writers don’t do enough. They leave it raw. There is no point in doing things by half.
Presenter: Thank you Vanessa, it has been very interesting talking to you.
Vanessa: Thank you.
3. What do we learn about Vanessa at the beginning of the interview?
3) She writes affecting novels.
4. In her childhood Vanessa produced a …
5. What made Vanessa start her writing career?
1) Reading a book bought by chance.
6. Vanessa thinks that anybody can be a storyteller because …
1) people are born with this gift.
7. What books does Vanessa specifically advise beginner writers to read?
3) Both good and bad books.
8. How does Vanessa treat her characters?
3) Like people living their own lives in a story.
9. Which of the following does Vanessa say about editing?
2) It may considerably shorten your text.