I stumbled upon this interview by the writer Alexander Chee, author of two critically acclaimed novels, Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night. This hyper-creative author has a different way of going about novel writing that merits some serious attention.
We all know about the virtues of writing a journal but have any of you kept a journal for the book you are writing? A place where you ask your characters hard questions, where you jot down your continuous concerns? Well Chee is one of those writers who still writes the first draft by hand.
“I created a process that a lot of my friends have adopted, where I created a journal that was specifically for the novel that I was working on. So each day I would open it when I started working and I’d read the most recent entry so I could remember where I was. And, if I needed to, I could refer to things in the past. And as the day went on, if I needed to dip into old files, I’d list them. It was a way of leaving a trail for myself about my own thoughts. I’d include any questions I had about the manuscript. I’d vent about scenes that I thought were still disgusting or pathetic or unworthy etc. I’d ask questions about why that was the case. Then the next day I’d try to answer them. Because a lot of the way I’d work was coming up with questions and then trying to answer them.”
If you like where that came from read How to Write a Novel compiled by Lincoln Michel.