Friday, June 2, 2017

where hoop meets writing help

During Game 1 of the NBA finals, I had the pleasure of sharing writing advice from Richard Bausch that he posted for the world to read.

Me: I remember Game 7 against the Bucks where Allen Iverson drove the lane, missed, then missed two or three more put backs until he got the hoop. Revise, revise, revise. Of course, Bausch is talking months and years, not flying-fast AI time.

Bausch: When Scott Fitzgerald finished the first complete draft of THE GREAT GATSBY, he made a note to himself: "Now the hard work begins." The real artistry is in the revisions, the times through. One writes it and then writes it again, and then again--and again. Parts of it are re-worked dozens of times. And one learns to be ruthless about it. When I was gathering old materials to store them once, I found 27 versions of page 221 of a novel I never even let out of the house; this was a book I was working on in the early eighties, first with a flare pen on yellow legal pads and finally on an old clunker of a typewriter: IBM. 27 typed pages with cutting and pasting on them, too. I remember having the thought, "Damn, I've been a hard worker." And I have no memory of tearing those pages out of the typewriter, or feeling any despair or even discouragement about it beyond the daily helping we all feel all the time because it is so difficult to do well. I would've remembered frustration and despair, too. No: it was just the work, which I was apparently quite patiently and diligently doing each day. Makes me happy to think of it now, getting ready to start the really hard work of it again.

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