Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Cupcake and Tartt

Right now, what I need is a little pick-me-up. Sugar. Cinnamon cupcake (sponsored by Emily), organic raspberries.

I am hopefully going to have a long, productive night of working. Sometimes, when I fret about the crawling progress, I think about being in college--at art school, and remember how I would pack things into the day--eating overlapping with class and homework and how I'd switch frantically back and forth between reading and writing and so on... I was sacrificing sleep. I should sacrifice more sleep. Sleep?

I can't believe how much I don't know about my characters... This doesn't sound very promising, but I'm working on it. I should probably really know them, having written the damn thing (or, at least a draft of it) BUT like I said... I'm working on it.

Also, I need to be reading. While I let my own characters wander around in my head I flick through pages of novels that I've read and want to read again, literary gems of our time--Donna Tartt's The Little Friend in particular. I don't think I've ever read a better novel. It has everything. Character, setting, plot, suspense, theme and motif on and on. At mention of her work years ago in the classroom, one of my former professors shuttered. He said, "That is the book that almost made me stop writing," as he feared he could never write so perfectly.

Long ago I read somewhere that it took Tartt ten years (or something wild) to write this book. I was unaware of her before the publication of The Little Friend. But her debut novel, The Secret History was a sensational introduction (she was young, hooked up by undergrad buddy Bret Easton Ellis, publishers went back and forth at war over her copy, her agent, Amanda Urban, is literary royalty...) The novels are very different. I think the second one to be much better and though people complained about the wait--I'm guilty, also, of wishing her along with a third--I think it's important to note that sometimes time does make a valuable difference. If an author really spends time with a book, and lets the novel take both the writer and the reader where it needs to go... These things don't just happen over night. I'd be foolish to think my first copy was my final copy. That I could stop now, that it is finished.

Certainly not.

Although I hope it doesn't take me ten years BUT AT THE RATE I'M MOVING--"MOVING" IT JUST MIGHT.

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