How Philip Pullman writes #amwriting #writerslife #BookofDust

Philip Pullman ‘When you’re writing, you have to please yourself because there’s no one else there initially. But the book doesn’t fully exist until it’s been read. The reader is a very important part of the transaction – and people have to read things they want to read. I’m writing for me – I write for all the ‘me’s’ that have been. From the first me I can remember, the me who first got interested in stories and loved listening to them; to the me who was here at Oxford fifty years ago; to the me who was a school teacher, telling stories to the class. All of these. I’m writing for me. And I am lucky to have found such a wide audience and an audience which contains both adults and children is the best of all.’
[in an interview with the BBC on October 19, 2017] 

Philip Pullman

[photo: AFP]

Pullman was speaking a day prior to publication of La Belle Sauvage, first volume of the long-awaited The Book of Dust. The interview is a fascinating account of how such a successful author – commercially and critically – goes about his day job. Three things stand out for me. He sits and stares at a wall, pen in hand, and waits for something to happen. It is ‘discovery’ he says, rather than ‘invention’. He prefers noise in the background to music playing. And he writes one to two chapters by hand, then transfers them to the computer.

I do understand his remark about the book not really existing until it’s been read – I would clarify this further by saying, read by a stranger. Someone who hasn’t read early drafts or character sketches. Someone who hasn’t listened to your endless ‘what if’ scenarios or hasn’t seen you dance with joy when a knotty plot problem has been resolved.

Read the BBC article in full here.

Philip Pullman


See how these other authors write:-
Jilly Cooper
Bill Clegg
Emma Flint

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Why @PhilipPullman primarily writes for himself #amwriting via @SandraDanby