When, during the course of an interview for The New Yorker, I told the interviewer (Mark Singer) that I believed stories are found things, like fossils in the ground, he said that he didn’t believe me. I replied that was fine, as long as he believed that I believe it. And I do. Stories aren’t souvenir tee-shirts or GameBoys. Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible…No matter how good you are, no matter how much experience you have, it’s probably impossible to get the entire fossil out of the ground without a few breaks and losses.
Excerpt from On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King