January 9th, 2013

Nabokov used to say that he pushed his characters around like serfs or chess pieces—he had no time for that … impotence whereby authors like to say, “I don’t know what happened, but my character just got away from me and did his own thing. I had nothing to do with it.” Nonsense, said Nabokov, if I want my character to cross the road, he crosses the road. I am his master. 

From How Fiction Works, by James Wood. Picador, page 116.

[Images: via

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    This little debate on how to characterize the author-character relationships is something I have always found wonderful....
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    Nabokov’s former estate outside St. Petersburg is now a museum and there’s this life-sized chessboard leading up to the...
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