A Writer’s Notes #41

I’ve uncovered some diverse thoughts on what it’s like to actually write a novel or a non-fiction book and thought I’d share them with you over the next several weeks. They’re from Philip Roth, Cory Booker, Leslie Jamison, Ayana Mathis and William Faulkner. I’ll start with Philip Roth’s candid (and somewhat depressing) thoughts: “Beginning a book is unpleasant. I type out beginnings and they’re awful, more of an unconscious parody of my previous book than the breakaway from it that I want. I need something driving down the center of a book, a magnet to draw everything to it…I often have to write a hundred pages or more before there’s a paragraph that’s alive. Okay, I say to myself, that’s your beginning, start there…After the awful beginning come the months of freewheeling play, and after the play come the crises, turning against your material and hating the book.”

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