Showing posts from April, 2012

On Writing

Writing a novel is not a spare-time endeavor, as we traditionally think. You know the old cliche where the newspaper man is hammering out the Great American Novel in the few hours a week he is both not working and sober? Well, at that rate he'd finish his tome in about three hundred years. Of course, there are those few writers, like Jack Kerouac, who load up on stimulants and crank out a novel in one sitting, but most writers have to think something before they write it.

For me, writing is a process of translating what's in my head into written word on the page. Imagine, for example, watching a movie and simultaneously transcribing it into the most interesting prose possible. That's what it's like for me. While I'm creating a novel it exists in my mind as mostly visual information, with a few snippets of memorable dialog. The visual information must be described and the dialog must be fleshed out into a natural seeming conversation between characters. Once the fir…