Then the rewriting, redrafting, fact checking and polishing, working with his editor, grumping at changes he might need to make, until after six months, he is bored with the book and ready to let it go. To someone like me who a) doesn't extensively plot and b) has a deadline for book 2 of June next year, it's incredibly comforting. He doesn't work every day, he suggests he's lazy enough to hit the coffee shop and the crossword before he even sits down to type. But the words build up. Even though, I think like a lot of us, he has doubts about the book while he's writing it, he carries on. That's the message for me. I recognised the sentiment that when you sit down to write page 1 the book in your head is perfect, but as it gets translated onto the page, it becomes less and less perfect. It was a wonderfully helpful insight into a writer's process, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to write a novel.
Monday, 12 November 2012
A master at work - Ian Rankin
Whether you like crime fiction in general or Ian Rankin's work in particular, if you write novels you will be informed by a programme made by the BBC. It followed the six months in which he actually wrote his latest book, Standing in Another Man's Grave. He details the process of coming up with the idea from cuttings and notes accumulated over a period of months if not years, and we see him hesitate over each word of the first line. Gradually, the book emerges, complete with notes, thoughts, ideas - and still he doesn't know what's going to happen. He was still deciding 'who did it' as he wrote the last few pages.