Lately, I have not been writing here as often. I have been shaping a lot of what I write about on this blog into a coherent manuscript about Colombia. You can read excerpts here.
Joan Didion said, “Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.”
As I put down strokes, there was this:
But then, the material was not gelling. As Joan Didion also said, “Once I get over maybe a hundred pages, I won’t go back to page one, but I might go back to page fifty-five, or twenty, even. But then every once in a while I feel the need to go to page one again and start rewriting.”
So, it came to this:
I take comfort to know this is part of the process.
Joyce Carol Oates said, “‘A Fair Maiden’ existed in notes and sketches for perhaps a year. When I traveled, I would take along with me my folder of notes – ‘ideas for stories.’ Eventually, I began to write it and wrote it fairly swiftly – in perhaps two months of fairly intense writing and rewriting. Most of my time writing is really re-writing.”