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Which Type of Book to Write?

August 5, 2003 |


Dear Garrison:

After pursuing other professions to the point of midlife, I would like to write some, and I think I have a number of worthy ideas. But I don't know which type of book to start first or whether I should start them simultaneously. Also I don't know whether to start each from the beginning or to write individual chapters as they come out of me. What do you do and what do you suggest for others?

Erstwhile Writer

Dear Erst,

Wat I do is muddle around in unremitting chaos and confusion until some shape suggests itself and then, after enormous expense of time and effort, I dispose of most of what I've done and strike out in the direction of land, or what appears to be land, but which may be only a dead walrus floating among the ice floes. What I suggest for others is that they take up golf and enjoy themselves. Golf is a beautiful game, and when I see large men in bright pants striding along the dew-bedecked fairway on a summer morn, I think, "There are some novelists who came to their senses."

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