MS: Considering that you work in multiple genres, do you ever have trouble deciding what form a particular idea/story should take?
SP: I ALWAYS have trouble deciding what form a particular/idea story should take. In many ways, that's the hardest part. What's the theme? What's the point of view? If it's first-person, who's the person? If it's not, what angle is the story being told from? How does it start? How does it end? What's the tone of voice? What's the "voice," period?
I have no method for answering these questions. I just trust my instincts. I try to "feel" the story and let it tell me how it wants to be told. I'm not sure why, but for me a lot of the time I use intermediate characters--like young Hardy in "Bagger Vance" or Xeo in "Gates of Fire." Someone who is relatable-to by the reader and can serve as a "way into the story." But not always.
I'm not sure this answer is helping too much. Bottom line: each story is different, for all of us, and each one demands a response all its own. I don't think it ever gets easier.
Well, my fellow writers, let's keep asking those questions until the story reveals its nature and form to us. Stay tuned for question #2 next week! Pressfield will discuss the nature of a writer's workday and strategies for time and project management. Best on your words until then ...