Martin Amis was on the Leonard Lopate show yesterday to talk about his latest book, Lionel Asbo: State of England. I have never read one of his books, but this particular one sounds like a good one to start with.
The real reason I am mentioning Martin Amis is that Leonard Lopate asked him how many drafts he goes through before finalizing and his reply was, "First it is in longhand, the second is typed and the third is the one that gets edited."
I wish I was able to longhand my novels. My brain goes to fast and then trying to edit all over the place with pen marks slicing through paragraph after paragraph would most likely make me feel like a failing lunatic. But then I thought maybe that is the best way. Write it out, you have to take you time, contemplate the dialogue, the direction your characters seem to be going. OR is it more like write it out and fall into "The Sound and The Fury" stream of consciousness? So now, when you go to type out everything your brain has just spewed, you will see the structure, the story, the mistakes are more obvious, the idea clearer. I don't know. I am not sure this is the time to try. When I get an idea for my current book and I write it down in the notebook designated for that specific book, I scribble so fast for fear of forgetting it. A snap of the finger and the idea to relieve the stagnation of my character gone because I could not move the pen faster than Superman can fly.
I respect the writer who does it the way all writing was done. Patience must run through their veins something fierce. I guess this is also where formal training is most helpful. Maybe my next book, after this one is done being edited and sent out, I can start writing out in an actual journal. But how do they handle if they misplace the journal they are using or if their house catches fire? This is more like my own WWWD? What Would Woody Do? Woody being Woody Allen who is notorious for typing everything on the same typewriter for like 40 years. God Bless.
Check out the interview here: Martin Amis on Leonard Lopate