I went to the launch of the new Peril magazine on Thursday night. It was a great night, which you can read about over at Maxine’s place. The entertainment by the Ladies of Colour Agency provided some of THE most amazing dancing I’ve ever seen. Tom Cho’s witticisms on language were f**ken enlightening, and Maxine’s performance poetry was as good as I remembered it being the first time I saw her and fell a little bit in love. Maxine and I went out for a coffee (and very decadent chocolate cake) after the launch and had a good old natter about all things writerly and womenly and I came away feeling warm, fuzzy, and creatively inspired.
I’d like now to direct your attention to this great article in The Wall Street Journal, How to Write a Great Novel: From writing in the bathroom… to dressing in character…, 11 top authors share their methods for getting the story on the page.
Margaret Atwood says “Put your left hand on the table. Put your right hand in the air. If you stay that way long enough, you’ll get a plot.” Not that she’s ever had to resort to such a thing of course.
Interestingly, Junot Diaz seems to be afflicted with the same curse that I am – as soon as you commit an inspired idea to paper, it ceases to be inspiring. And I thought it was just me. Of course, he spends half the time writing his novels while perched on the end of the bathtub, which really isn’t me, but maybe I’ll give it a go, see how it feels. (Uncomfortable comes immediately to mind.)
Booker-prize winner Michael Ondaatje writes the first three or four drafts by hand and then cuts and pastes with, you know, scissors and sticky tape, to create notebooks with four or more layers on each page.
Nicholson Baker videotaped himself giving poetry lectures for his latest novel, trying to get inside his protagonist, and ended up with 40 hours worth of tape and 1,000 pages of transcription.
Most people seem to have some level of fascination with how writers do their thing. Many writers of course, hate to be asked. If anyone wants to know my own writing process it involves a whole lot of procrastination followed by extreme remorse. See? Nothing fancy.