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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"How I Write, The Secret Lives of Authors" edited by Dan Crowe

I've been reading snippets from How I Write, trying to glean any pearls of wisdom that might lie therein. Some of the offerings do tell us something about how these writers write. I'll briefly summarize some of them.

Jonathan Franzen: he's hoarse at the end of the day from reading his dialogue out loud.

Will Self: puts millions of post-it notes on his walls with random bits of dialogue, scenes, ideas for stories, etc., etc. Then they get organized into notebooks, then into books. Sounds pretty organic, doesn't it?

Benjamin Markovits: relies on a warm cup of tea to keep him occupied while staring at the blank screen.

Tom Robbins: keeps a poster on his wall with two sayings, one by Stanley Elkin reminding him to go as far out, to be as original, as he can be; the second saying is from Nelson Algren that decries, apparently, those who plan out their work (plotter) before doing the writing.

Janine Di Giovanni (a journalist): you have to be there to get the story. You have to take chances.

Eric Chase Anderson: has a cork board on his wall with pictures of famous writers; also, photos of actors he used as models for his characters.

There are many others. I'll share them with you as time goes along.

7 comments:

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Richard, I like the idea of post it notes a lot. May borrow it soon.

Ann Carbine Best said...

I like the post-it notes. Also, I recently read that reading your work aloud is THE best thing to do.

Excellent pointers. Look forward to more.

Hope you and your family are enjoying the holidays. Thanks for leaving a lovely comment on my blog about that awesome 1513 letter by Fra Giovanni. I was so happy when I found it online. The Internet IS amazing, for so many good things!
Ann Carbine Best

Kelley Lynn said...

I use post-its for everything else in my life, but not writing. Though... that's not entirely true I guess. I do use it for big edits. So if I get major feedback from a CP and I have a list of things to do, then I write them all down on a post-it and cross them off as I go :)

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

I like the idea of reading it aloud. That's something I should do more than I ever do, because you catch a lot of problems that way. That sounds like a very helpful book!

Misha Gericke said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I also love drinking tea while staring at a blank screen. ;-)

Lea said...

Fascinating collection of writers' pearls of wisdom :) I would love to read that, too.

Lea said...

Fascinating collection of writers' pearls of wisdom :) I would love to read that, too.