Breaking: Writers Are Eccentric And Enjoy Bathtubs, Charts

By

The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed a bunch of writers to see how they do it. Of course, they called it “How to Write a Great Novel,” but I’m not sure if trying to copy exactly what these writers do is really recommended. It’s fun, though, in a voyeuristic sort of way. Here’s a few excerpts:

“Before she begins a novel, Edwidge Danticat creates a collage on a bulletin board in her office, tacking up photos she’s taken on trips to her native Haiti and images she clips from magazines ranging from Essence to National Geographic. Ms. Danticat, who works out of her home in Miami, says she adapted the technique from story boarding, which filmmakers use to map out scenes.”

“Richard Powers, whose books are often concept-driven, intricately plotted and stuffed with arcane science, wrote his last three novels while lying in bed, speaking to a lap-top computer with voice-recognition software.”

“(Junot Diaz) often listens to orchestral movie soundtracks as he writes, because he’s easily distracted by lyrics. When he needs to seal himself off from the world, he retreats into the bathroom and sits on the edge of the tub.”

You can read the whole thing here.


Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He’s been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →