Brow Beat

George Saunders Shares His Secrets of Storytelling in This Striking Short Film

When George Saunders isn’t tucking Stephen Colbert into bed, he moonlights as one of our most masterful writers of fiction. That mastery can be witnessed in any one of his collections, but if you want something more direct—wisdom straight from the author’s mouth—there’s this striking documentary by Tom Mason and Sarah Klein, which sees Saunders parse his philosophy of storytelling in a neat seven minutes.

The advice here stresses approach over execution: Saunders’ foremost concern, when writing a story, is to avoid coming into the process loaded with intention. Instead, he lets the honing of sentences carry him naturally toward meaning. It’s worked pretty well for him so far; you can find bonus footage from the film here