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The heart of fiction is getting the details right

Robert Littell is a writer’s writer. In an interview with January Magazine’s Ali Karim he discusses a lifetime of writing. He has lived in France since the Nixon Administration. He wrote The Company, which is the book about the CIA. He was a former Newsweek reporter who quit his job to write novels. Moved his family to France with only $10,000 to his name. His first book was published by a French publisher Gallimard. Marcel Duhamel wrote him a letter offering him US$500 for Lewinter. It was his first sale. And like F. Scott Fitzgerald, after his first sale, Littell walked around stunned with Duhamel’s letter in his hands.

One of his observations should be printed out and put over the desk of every writer:

“You must get the detail right, and you can only get that from actually being there, to see, to smell, to hear the location.”

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