“He writes with a typewriter, beginning with the first page, with a situation he has been brooding about, and some sense of the implications or characters involved, but no real storyline.
He probes forward with this, discovering as he goes (he pointed out that the Latin root of “invent” also has the meaning “discover”), but here’s the thing: he does not ever go back and change what he has written.
It’s a pact he has with himself. He must accept and work with what he has laid down as he goes.
If he has had a character’s mother die at a particular time, he can’t alter that, even if becomes clear it would be convenient if she died earlier, or later. And writing as he does he has to remember just what he did say, so that later on he won’t violate it. . .”
The author John Crowley at his blog shares the writing techniques of the Spanish author Javier Marias, as part of Crowley’s occasional series of writing advice/techniques offered by other writers.
On a related note, early 2010 will see the release of the 25th anniversary limited edition of Crowley’s classic fantasy novel Little, Big which, in my opinion is one of the most masterful novels I’ve ever read.