Scratch an author and you are likely to find an obsessive beneath the skin. Someone who would rather be writing than doing anything else… and if not writing, reading, or thinking about writing. And it seems to make no difference if the author is published or unpublished, just trawl WordPress and you will find authors, learning to write a novel by writing a novel, who talk about ‘needing’ to write, ‘wanting’ to write.
Donna Tartt says she only feels happy if she is writing, and if she doesn’t feel happy writing the book then it’s most likely her readers won’t feel happy reading it. If this is the case, it doesn’t matter how long it takes the write the book. Tartt’s first, breakout, novel, The Secret History, took eight years to write. Her second, The Little Friend, took 10 years. The Goldfinch, her award-winning third novel, another 10 years. Read my review of The Goldfinch here.
Click here to read the full interview with Tartt in the Telegraph.
Joseph Heller apparently wrote the first line of Catch-22 in 1953, and used it as inspiration to plan the characters and story. The novel was published in 1961. Read the first paragraph here.
Do you know of any novels which took longer to write?
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Authors, obsessive? Are we? Am I? Are you? http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1dO #amwriting via @SandraDanby