Salman Rushdie was in his twenties and wrote a cracking failure of a novel; imitative of the books he loved, too much like Pynchon. He knew it was a terrible thing, unpublishable even, and so into a drawer this book went, never to be mentioned again.
Thirty years later, he digs it out and confidently, with a smile, reads a snippet of the book. Now I would be devastated to have written a novel that went nowhere. I wouldn’t be talking about it, although I would be holding this nowhere-novel around my neck like an albatross. But not Salman: “at least,” he says, “I knew not to take it any further. My shit-detector was working.”
This is from Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass on fiction writing. He talks about how to write dialogue, how to find a subject, how to research, how to avoid bullshit. One of the most interesting bits from the class is this part, where he talks about character design: