It Never Gets Easier
It’s refreshing to hear you talk about the challenges and slog of working through the structure and mechanics. So often we’re bombarded with a version of “RealWritersTM feel *compelled* to write, it just spills out of them onto the page!” The implication being that if it doesn’t come easy, it ain’t gonna happen, quit while you’re behind. Unfortunately, I think too many writers listen to that internal and external critic and give up early to go play Zelda. Keep pushing!
This is fascinating, thanks for sharing! I wonder if you start with an outline or let writing flow until things crystallise?
Delighted to hear about your new novel, and particularly pleased to see the reference to Le Carre, whose entire canon I just finished reading for the second time. Plus a whopping big biography (spoiler alert: his life was more sparkly than yours so far-- but actually far less interesting: do try to get into some showy trouble soon, though!). Keep those updates coming!
HUGE SPOILER ALERTS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ OUR COUNTRY FRIENDS AND TOMORROW AND TOMORROW AND TOMORROW.
Thanks for letting us know where you are in the writing process! So I just finished reading Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and as I'm reading your message here it dawns on me that there is a similarity -- if only in my mind - with Our Country Friends. Spoiler Alert: When Vinod is dying...I had to put the book down for a day or two. It was too intense. I knew where it was going and I thought that maybe if I didn't finish that section it wouldn't happen. In T & T & T the same thing happened when Marx is dying. I put that down for like a week! Amazing writing on Zevin's part in second person! Both of your accounts of a character we love who is dying are simply spectacular. Dreamlike. Mesmerizing. Incredibly heartbreaking. Stuff I won't forget.
I'm sure this will be a wonderful read, Gary, based on my previous (excellent) experiences with your other novels. If it's any consolation, the pain you incur is more than offset by the pleasure you give your readers, so thank you!
Thank you for the update. I appreciate your sharing the process -- I always thought novels were brought by the stork-- and I can't wait to read it.
Did I hear Le Carre? This is gonna be good.
Good stuff, and great to see another writer going for full discovery. I do a rough outline but usually end up abandoning it or at least tearing it up (and taping back together). Outlines being a ruse to trick me into thinking I know where it’s going. The espionage angle sounds interesting. Onward!
Thanks, Gary. Do you generally know the full plot, including the ending, before you start writing it do you discover it as you write?
Beethoven or Mozart more referred to struggling over each word or letting your thoughts flow unimpeded. Thank you for responding. You look crazy? Who's looking? Go, be crazy.
Do you do much per-sentence polishing as you go, or are your first-draft edits reserved for the big things?
I've rewritten the first 10,000 words of my new thing a half dozen times trying to recreate the tone I hear in my head.
Love reading about yr writing process.
Like seeing The Prisoners in the Stone before you see David! 😀
I never know if you’re kidding. We need to hear moe about the pain!
What are your keyboarding skills like? Are you quiet or are you speaking out what you write, see what it sounds like? Are you rewriting as you go along? Beethoven or Mozart? Do you struggle over each word or do you just let it flow?
Late to the party, but you've just gob-smacked me upside the head. And I like it! How delightful to learn a new trick: "add a character who stands in for the reader." WTF. How did I not KNOW this after years of writing, deep study of Story, nose to grindstone? Feeling groovy! And hopeful for my graphic novel rewrite. Bless you and the novel you rode in on.