Can you describe your process from first draft to the final version? How does your draft take shape? What’s your journey through revision?
It took me a whole book to describe this process: The Last Draft: A Novelist’s Guide to Revision. It’s done in stages of increased awareness of what the “it” of the writing is, and increased attention to shape and line.
Who are your favorite writers or writers who’ve influenced your work?
I grew up in a great storytelling generation: Marjorie Morningstar; Hawaii; The Great Gatsby; The Tin Drum; The End of the Affair. Writers took on big themes, wrote big books, cared about language.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to your younger self just starting out writing?
Read like a writer.
What do you think of the adage “write what you know”?
I don’t pay any attention to adages.
What’s a book you could read over and over again?
The Stranger (Camus). The Lover (Duras). A Compass Error (Bedford).
Are you interested in any other art forms, such as cinema, photography, music? If so, how do you think the different forms relate to each other, and what are the strengths and weaknesses of each?
I am a painter and I love it because it is NOT like writing. It has no words. It is physical. It is about color. I love all the arts.
What was your first experience with publishing like?
You mean after the famous journal editor told me I wasn’t a writer? I published with a small press. The publisher is an awful person. But it was a start.
Friday, September 13, 2019
9:30 AM 11:00 AM
Residence Inn by Marriott (map)
You can write a narrative all the way to the end and still not be able to say what it is about. Uh-oh. Learn how to capture the essence of a story in a few clear sentences. That analysis becomes a North Star for your character and plot development. It is your way into drafting or revising a story, and it's your way into convincing someone they really should read it.