the109: Author Robert Boswell shares writing process strategies


    A novelist told a TCU audience last week that his writing process is similar to the creative process of a jazz pianist.

    Author Robert Boswell visited the university to read from his recent novel Tumbledown.

    Boswell discussed his revision process during a Q&A, explaining that only two of his stories have ended the way he originally planned.  He likened his process of revision to the music of a jazz pianist, traveling as far away from the melody as he can but still “making it back.”

    It was the second installment of TCU’s annual Live Oak Reading Series held in the Moudy Complex Nov. 7.  More than 80 TCU students and faculty attended turning the reading into a standing-room-only event.

    “[Robert Boswell’s] descriptions are very colorful and unique,” said Jessica Sapp, a TCU film, television and media major. “I feel like not many people would think to describe things as he does.”

    Matthew Pitt, TCU professor and chair of the Creative Writing Committee, introduced Boswell. 

    “Boz, as his students and friends get to call him, is a humble writer whose writing humbles,” Pitt said.

    Boswell then read an excerpt from his novel. Released in 2013, Tumbledown is a “crowded, tender, and captivating novel,” according to Publishers Weekly starred review, and is colored by equal amounts of tragedy, irony, and humor.

    In addition to his many contributions to literature (including twelve books and two plays), Boswell has offered the literary community a fresh perspective, something he calls  “unreliable omniscience.”

    Boswell later signed copies of his books. 

    “I just thought it was really awesome [of Boswell] to help us as writers and not just peddle his own material,” said enthusiastic TCU senior writing major RJ Metzger.

    “The least important thing is getting published,” Boswell said.  Instead, he stressed that writing is about the process and encouraged aspiring writers to write daily and read seriously.

    The next Live Oak Reading will take place next month and feature a faculty/student pairing.

    The 109 is a product of students of the TCU Schieffer School of Journalism. To read more, visit