November 30, 2012
Post #3200 – 20121130
I had dinner with author Richard Peck a few years back and he listened intently, mining for information as I spoke of the odd stuff my kids do and believe. He said he always thinks he will never be able to write anything else again and then he finds his way back to it by reading other authors' work and by going to the library to do research. (Yes, the library). In his final re-write he also axes ten percent of his copy to tighten it up. What is your writing process like? Do you pay close attention to "stuff" to get ideas. Do you have a pattern of research or thinking about "stuff" that gets you back to the Corona? (A typewriter, not a beer, you younger ones). White suit and panama hat like Tom Wolfe? Are you a merciless editor of your own work? Just curious about how the greatness happens.
Why are people always so interested in the work habits and processes of writers? It's office work, for pity's sake! Desk work! It's not interesting. I mean, ask a sculptor how he goes about selecting and acquiring a great big piece of stone, winkles it into his studio, goes about planning how he's going to carve it, what tools he uses...mostly things you've never seen or heard of...the danger of making a mistake and accidentally whacking off a buttock, or splitting the thing in two, how he lives, eats, sleeps, suffers while he works, how he knows when to stop before all he has is gravel....that might be interesting. I have had dinner with an author or two, and the subject of how one writes has always been carefully and politely avoided. I will be polite now, even though you ask for it.