Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Amis on revision

Since last spring I've been picking infrequently at a book called Off The Page edited by Carol Burns. It's a collection of excerpts, organized thematically, from interviews she did with numerous writers as part of a series for the Washington Post. It's the kind of thing I used a lot for moral support during my drafting stage (I read a lot of the Paris Review interview collections then) but have needed less lately.

I was drawn to the chapter on revision of course, and underlined a lot in there. Here's a sample from Martin Amis:

The process of writing is really finding out more about the novel. When you finish and then go back to revise, you're amazed by your ignorance of what you were trying to do.
(pg. 125)

So true. Ever since finishing the first rewrite I've had an itch (which I'm about to scratch, I think) to start using what I learned about the process to try again with another project.

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