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  • Nicole J. Burton

How Writers Choose Subjects


My first novel, Adamson's 1969, the coming-of-age story of a Englishman in America, will be published next year. For long-form works such as full-length plays or novels, the subject often chooses the writer, not vice versa.

I began 1969 so long ago, I don't recall the moment we agreed to partner, but I can say it's loosely based on my brother's story, with tales from my husband's catalog of youthful adventures. All fiction is a mash-up of biography, autobiography, history, news, yearning, and imagination.

I finished the first draft ten years ago. Some people read it and we agreed: it was long and boring. I put the manuscript on a basement shelf and asked my unconscious to solve these problems. Eventually, I learned the novel's central theme and found an action that allowed me to successfully revise. Adamson's 1969 is now a brisk Adult/Young Adult novel that opens a door to a crazy, painful, hilarious period in America's history.

Our stories and passions find us, if we let them.


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