Helen Rosner is a food correspondent at The New Yorker.
“I believe the things that are really important to me are structure over all and—forgive me, I’ve said this on other podcasts before—if I were going to get a tattoo this is what I would get a tattoo of is that it doesn’t matter what you say, it only matters what they hear. It’s my job to make sure the gulf between those two things is as narrow as possible and there’s as little ambiguity between what I say and what you hear. It’s never easy, but it’s certainly easier in the realm of arguable objectivity. To create emotion in a reader requires a huge amount of really thoughtful work on the part of the writer in a way that forces you as a writer to remove yourself from the emotion you’re creating in the reader. If I to set you up for sadness, I have to create emotional stakes. I have to create investment in whoever I’m talking about or whatever the story’s about. The craft of making stakes and setting up a potential downfall, a potential loss, whatever it may be I think is not something you can do well if you’re feeling the feeling you’re trying to create in the reader.”
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