I’ve seen plenty of students come in and say, I want to write a novel about blah blah blah. But you just can’t do it. You can only write a novel about a character who does something wrong, and see what happens from there. Novels are compendiums of bad behavior, and literature is the gossip about it. In other words, if you’re writing a piece of fiction, I’d urge you not to try to show anything—instead, try to discover something.