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I find the degree to which authors differ in their approaches to writing utterly amazing. 

Alexander Alter of the Wall Street Journal has collected remarks from a variety of leading authors pertaining to the way in which they approach the process of writing, and they could not be more diverse from one another. 

For example:

“Orhan Pamuk writes by hand, in graph-paper notebooks, filling a page with prose and leaving the adjacent page blank for revisions, which he inserts with dialogue-like balloons. He sends his notebooks to a speed typist who returns them as typed manuscripts; then he marks the pages up and sends them back to be retyped. The cycle continues three or four times.”

“Kazuo Ishiguro, author of six novels, including the Booker-prize winning "Remains of the Day,"typically spends two years researching a novel and a year writing it. Since his novels are written in the first person, the voice is crucial, so he "auditions" narrators by writing a few chapters from different characters’ points of view. Before he begins a draft, he compiles folders of notes and flow charts that lay out not just the plot but also more subtle aspects of the narrative, such as a character’s emotions or memories.”

“Dan Chaon writes a first draft on color-coded note cards he buys at Office Max. Ideas for his books come to him as images and phrases rather than plots, characters or settings, he says. He begins by jotting down imagery, with no back story in mind. He keeps turning the images over in his mind until characters and themes emerge.”

I sit down wherever I am, open the laptop, and begin writing.

In comparison, I feel so… uninteresting.   Lame.

A veritable imposter.   

No Comments

  1. Paul Lamb on November 18, 2009 at 7:02 am

    You might be interested in Daily Routines (though it hasn’t been updated in a while):

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