In reading through my favorite of all newspapers, The New York Times, I uncovered A Conversation with John Irving, in which he describes writing his latest novel, Last Night in Twisted River. This, like all his novels, began with the last sentence. John, it would appear, relies heavily on the good old pen and paper (no wonder he needed hand surgery).
Elmore Leonard’s another die-hard old-fashioned pen-and-paper writer. He talks about his process in an AARP article in the July/August issue. Titled “I Make It Up As I Go Along,” the beginning of the article is posted on his site. As he notes, the article title pretty much sums it up, but one quote surprised me: “Dialogue, in fact, is the element that keeps the story moving.” I suppose if you’re Elmore Leonard, you can get away with heavy dialogue, but editors tag other writers for it.
Two other great Leonard quotes (not from this article): “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it” and “I leave out the parts that people skip.” Great advice for any author.
The Times’ A Conversation with Toni Morrison reveals the inspiration for A Mercy, her 1700s historical.
I also discovered A Conversation with John Updike on the Times site. Still have The Widows of Eastwick on my (very long) TBR list. This conversation, btw, immediately veers off into a political tangent and never recovers. Sad, since he’s silenced forever.