Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for Writing Tips from a Pulitzer Prize winner!

Happy Wednesday, all!!   Lucky me ~ "W" falls on Wednesday, which is typically the day I dispense all sorts of writerly goodness, outside of the A-Z.  So, of course, today you get writing tips!

Actually, it's more a look into the writing process of 2011 Pulitzer Prize  for Fiction Writing winner - Jennifer Egan.  I haven't had a chance to read her book - A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD - which won her this prestigious writing award, but I'll definitely have to add that to my TBR list.

Here's a copied recap of some of her tips from the Writer's Digest article.  For the entire recapped interview and links to the full interview (and pic source), please go HERE.


I don’t really know where my ideas come from. I start with a time and a place. That’s what I need to get started, and an intellectual question2.

-Start with a time and a place.
-Be excited/surprised by the process
-Avoid going backward instead of forward (so simple, and yet, so unyieldingly difficult).
-Start with as little as possible

Fiction-writing I only do by hand. Only.

I usually try to write five to seven original pages a day.

First drafts:
A first draft takes about 10% of the total writing time, but in terms of importance it’s probably 50%.

I don’t outline initially. I outline everything in revision. Some of my revision outlines are 50 pages long.

Usually my books go through three or four big drafts, with each big draft reflecting 20 rewrites of each individual part. When I get to a full new draft, it means I’ve made enough changes to all the parts that I’m willing to look at it as a whole.

Interesting, Interesting!  I wonder if I should invest in some yellow notepads...hmm.  :)  Tell me, do you see any of your writing habits here?


Caitlyn (Cait) said...

Yep. I prefer paper over the computer.

Bish Denham said...

I'm thinking I may need to get back into writing my first drafts by hand....

J.L. Campbell said...

My revisions usually take a while and when I think I'm done I still find things to rewrite. As long as I think I can make something read better, I'm going to be working on that.

D. U. Okonkwo said...

Revisions are the longest, but their so necessary. Really interesting to see what Jennifer Egan does when she writes. Great post!

Summer Ross said...

I write long hand as well.

Myne Whitman said...

I stopped writing long hand a couple of years ago. But I like the intellectual question bit. Hmm...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I write the first draft longhand, but I always outline. I tend to get lost without a map.

Jeanne said...

I brainstorm on paper and write notes. Then transfer them to computer. Usually somewhere along the way I print out what I have and do paper and pencil so that I have something in my hand as I work.

sandy axelrod said...

Thanks for the writing tips. I am currently working on two memoir/cookbooks so I can use them as they apply to my type of writing.

Nas Dean said...

I write long hand, and keep a notepad and pen next to my bed for nighttime writing!

Trisha said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't tend to outline with a draft :D

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Longhand writing? Hmm. Not for me. I would never be able to decipher my handwriting. LOL.

Angela Felsted said...

I'm impressed with your output. five to seven original pages a day, wow!

Do you have any throw away days, like Sundays?