18 November, 2005

'All novelists are heroes. Blessings on your efforts.'

From this interview (not fresh at all, but good) with Michael Cunningham:
I always work intuitively without much knowledge of where I'm going. I find that if I insist too strongly from the outset it won't take on the life that a novel needs to have. I find that by writing in the dark and coming up with a big messy first draft and reshape and rework I stand the best chance of coming up with a book that's a little smarter than I am. That may be useful to others struggling with novels. There's always a point during the writing when the book falls apart, which is a difficult period and no fun, but what actually happens is the novel is outgrowing my idea and taking on a life of its own. All novelists are heroes. Blessings on your efforts.


Blogger Perry Middlemiss said...

Somewhere in early 2005 or late 2004 Neil Gaiman wrote on his weblog of a call he made to his agent. He was working on the first draft of his latest novel and stated that he thought the book was crap, that it wasn't going anywhere and wouldn't be publishable even if it did. His agent's reply: "Oh, so you're up to that point are you."

Can't find the link I'm sorry to say.

21 November, 2005 11:58  
Blogger Among Amid While said...

Katherine Paterson: "I decided I couldn't stand it any longer. I simply could not finish this book. It took me a few days longer to broach the subject to my husband. After all, by this time I had been working on this book since early 1980, and I had spent three expensive weeks in China in the fall of 1981 while he kept everything going at home. We already had one child in college and a second entering in September. We needed this book. But finally I decided there was no help for it. Facts, however painful, must be faced. I was never going to finish this book. I broke it as gently as possible, but the bitter truth could no longer be withheld. I was never, ever going to be able to finish this book. 'Oh,' he said. 'So you've reached that stage.'

"Needless to say, I went back to my typewriter. The book would be finished. 'Two pages a day,' I ordered myself. 'You do not get up from this chair until you have produced two pages.' Now some days those margins were mighty wide, but mostly it worked. For several weeks, it was two extremely malnourished pages a day, then a bit more, until finally, toward the end of May, I had a draft."

21 November, 2005 18:21  

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