Monday, December 20, 2010

What is Writing Like?

My grandfather alerted me to this wonderful Charlie Rose interview with author Nicole Krauss. And in it, she describes the writing process in two ways that I'd never thought of, but completely agree with (paraphrasing, here). Ultimately, that writing is an act of discovery:

1) Writing is like a house. As an author, she visualizes a doorknob, and realizes it's attached to something, a door. Then that door becomes a room she must visualize/describe/explore. Then another room, and another, until she finishes the entire novel, steps back, and is able to see the house/novel structure as a whole. Very similar to the "bird by bird" concept (Anne Lamott) of seeing a novel in small pieces, tackling it sentence-by-sentence, "bird by bird." Focusing more on the individual pieces to create the larger whole.

2) Writing is like paleontology. I loved this example - she described how an archaeologist will get a "sense" that there are fossils below a certain surface, and will pace and pace above it (a writer's brainstorming process, I believe), going on instinct. Then, he/she will start to dig, and will find a small bone, and will know it's the right spot! He/she will start digging further, digging deeper, until the entire piece is finally exposed. Again, it's that "piece by piece" concept, of concentrating on smaller parts to get to the whole.

You can find Ms. Krauss's full interview here (just click on her picture).

Thanks to my grandfather for showing this to me! I'm so appreciative of how supportive my grandparents (and parents) are of my love of writing. I'm a lucky girl!

1 comment:

  1. Hey! That is really interesting and a good way to look at the writing process! I emailed you by the way! And once more GOOD LUCK!