Friday, September 08, 2006

I'm re-reading Alice Munro's collection of short stories, Runaway at the moment. Quite wonderful, as is this archive interview with her in the Observer. I was particularly interested in this paragraph because it reflected the conversation in my writer's group yesterday when we were talking about the importance of just getting something down first:
Most mornings, she'll write for three hours in the dining room. There will be ideas that she's had in her mind for years. She starts by sitting on the couch and writing in longhand. She no longer worries what the first version sounds like: 'I just write the story.' She'll type the first draft and begin the second version - 'That is the most important leap, in a way,' she says. 'It has to start feeling strongly as if it's happening and I am not pushing it. Then I write and rewrite.' She has a horror of being 'flabby or dull'.
One of the writers yesterday mentioned that Pat Barker called her first attempts, the Serbo-Croat draft, I guess because it makes such little sense to someone who doesn't speak any Serbo-Croat. Trouble is when the second, third, fourth draft feel like that too...

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