Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Richard Price

I'm reading Lush Life at present - review to follow - and came across this neat comment on the writing process, in an interview he did for the New York Times:

Another reason the book took so long is that Mr. Price felt obligated to the neighborhood — he wanted to get it right, all the chaos, all the texture — and wound up writing far too much. “I threw out 300 pages,” he said. “Not voluntarily.”

When he finally, reluctantly, showed the manuscript to his editor, he explained, it felt less like a submission than an intervention. “There was just so much here,” he said, “and I fell in love with everything. I had two novels. It was as if my novel had had a novel. Congratulations, you’ve just had a nine-and-a-half-pound novel!” He shook his head and added, “You never really learn how to write a book, because every one is different.”

It's hard enough excising a sentence from a short story. I can feel for the man, having to cut 300 pages...

Even so, it's a bloody long book. Americans write a lot of words, I find.

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