Saturday, May 31, 2008

How Long, How Fast - Writing in Time

Tonight over dinner a friend of mine commented that I "write faster" than he does. We went on to discuss how long it takes us to write something short. Then, I came home, looked over my old emails and found this excerpt, forwarded to me from Angela Keene. How long DOES it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop, or a short story? The world may never know.

From an interview in Children's Literature Review, 2003, about writing the children's story, Wolves in the Walls:

"The concept for Wolves came from the author's young daughter, who had a bad dream one night. "She was convinced there were wolves in the walls," says Gaiman, "and as she described them to me, I immediately knew that I would steal the idea for a book." Not long after, he sat down and wrote the first draft of the story. "I didn't like it at all," says Gaiman. Instead of rewriting it, however, he decided to abandon it. After about eight months, he tried once more, but again, he didn't like it, and again, he abandoned the story. Another eight months passed. Then one night, Gaiman suddenly woke up in bed and thought, "When the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over!" This, apparently, was just the idea he needed to bring the book to life. That afternoon, he wrote the entire story, to perfection. "It took me one afternoon to write it," says Gaiman, "but also two-and-a-half years.""

I have recently revisited little bits of ideas from long ago that are now emerging in completely different ways. Think, write, think, revise, simmer, write, revise, write.

What does time look & feel like for you as a writer? How long do you work on something? How many times do you come back to it?

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