An article you might want to read

The Guardian has an excellent article by George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo, entitled What Writers Really Do When They Write.

He describes the work of an artist:

What does an artist do, mostly? She tweaks that which she’s already done. There are those moments when we sit before a blank page, but mostly we’re adjusting that which is already there. The writer revises, the painter touches up, the director edits, the musician overdubs.

The piece discusses that tweaking, that revision at length. This, for me, was the really interesting part. As I am working on revision of our second book, I see that I am already doing some of what he talks about. But I got a better understanding for how to do it and  why it is important from reading this.

He goes on to say:

Any work of art quickly reveals itself to be a linked system of problems.

I hadn’t really thought about my writing in that way. I can see, though, that there is a seemingly endless system of problems — or maybe questions is a better word: How does he do that? Why does he do that? What would happen if he did this instead?  And I think that the more questions I ask and answer, the better the story will be.

I am probably never going to be the kind of writer Saunders is. OK, who am I kidding? There is no question about it. I WILL NEVER be the kind of writer he is.  But I believe that  I better understand what it is I am trying to do now. And that should make me a better writer eventually. I hope so!

All in all, I thought it was a fascinating article. I hope you will, too!

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