Tuesday, December 10, 2013

More on Donna Tartt, My Literary Crush

Here’s a good interview with Donna Tartt, author of The Goldfinch, the book I’m currently pushing on everyone:

“When people ask you why you did this or that you’re sort of compelled to make up the reasons. But the real answer is, I don’t know why.” The best answer she can give is to cite Rudyard Kipling’s maxim: drift, wait, and obey….

With all her books, she says, what she is striving for is an “immersive experience – the kind of book that you can absolutely lose yourself in; where you’re in a different world, your mother calls you, you don’t hear her – that kind of book.” In short, the kind of books that she loved as a child growing up in Mississippi, “a girl who loved books for boys” – Jules Verne, Ivanhoe, Robert Louis Stevenson….

Her working method is Byzantine. She writes in longhand in large spiral-bound notebooks, adding thoughts and corrections in red, blue and then green pencil, and stapling index cards to them to keep track of plot and characters. When it all starts getting “too messy” she types the manuscript into the computer, then prints out the drafts on colour-coded paper. “I can pick up the pink draft, and I know that’s the first one; or the grey draft, or the most recent one is the blue. So if I need something from an older draft I know where to find it. My French teacher, many years ago, told me this, and it actually works.”…


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.