I did an event yesterday at the Nashville Public Library, a co-event between my regular Nashville Writers Circle and the Southern Festival of Books.
Talked for a couple of hours with Rick Bragg and Roy Blount, jr. Packed house. I’m sure they were all there to watch me ask questions.
Lots of interesting stuff, for sure. In a week or two, you can find the whole thing on the Library website. nashvillepubliclibrary.org/writerscircle
Anyway. I asked them about rewriting. Rick teaches writing, and said that it’s hard for his students to want to rewrite. Gee, I agree.
Rick rewrites as he goes. He polishes each sentence and then moves to the next. Polishes each paragraph. Then moves to the next. When he puts the final period on the final sentence in the final paragraph, the whole piece is done. But he’s rewritten and rewritten like crazy, to get to that last period.
Roy rewrites too, but not the same way.
He does a draft and then goes back and looks at the whole thing. And messes with parts of it and then the whole thing and back to the top and all over again. He rewrites and rewrites and rewrites. Roy spent a good bit of time talking about the use of language. He’s written two books about it. He is very interested in how the words sound in your head when you read, the rhythm and sound of the words is very important.
It was fascinating to hear two masters of the craft (and can they WRITE!) talking about the painstaking attention to detail a work of writing must have before it is ready to be sent out.
Plus they are delightful as hell. I highly recommend, next time you get a chance, sitting down with Rick and Roy to talk about writing. You have no idea how much fun you’re going to have.