Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

Bernard Malamud's habits of writing:
Malamud thought half a page not at all a bad day's work. He wrote in longhand, leaving space for his inevitable rewriting. He began each morning reworking what he had written the night before. He viewed every sentence as a sculpture. He had longhand pages of a completed story or chapter of a novel typed by his wife or a hired secretary. "Then," according to his daughter, "he would rewtite. And rewrite. Usually two or three times, occasionally into the double digits of drafts. His sentences and paragraphs were hard won, the result of considered thought and constant revision. He understood that his success had come from 10 percent talent and 90 percent hard work."
(from Philip Davis' recent biography, Bernard Malamud: A Writer's Life)

Rewriting the previous day's work as you go along is not the way of writing fiction most commonly taught, which is: write it out once, don't get slowed down by editing as you go along, but then rewrite when you're finished. (Or, if you're Heinlein, don't rewrite at all.) However, this is the way I write. It's the way Kelly Link writes, too, and I recall Nancy Kress mentioning at Clarion another writer who did the same (whose name I forget; it wasn't Kelly or Bernard).

I admit, I usually don't do 10 or more drafts. Maybe I should.

The story does go to show that what works for one may not work for another, there are many ways to skin a cat, one man's meat is another man's poison, nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, etc. And makes me feel a *little* better about not doing it the way you're supposed to.

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