The Task of Getting It Down on Paper

There was another mode of composition, very much slower and more painful, in which she strove to capture the essence of certain events, real or imagined, as precisely as she could, and here she felt she might one day acquire a very different sort of facility, if only she could stumble upon some great conception, something that would absolutely distinguish her work from that of hundreds of authors whose novels crammed the circulating libraries and bookstalls and joustled one another for notice in the pages of the reviews. At least half a dozen times she had launched herself with high hopes into "Chapter One", and felt her tale to be well under way, only to see a darkness fall across the page, blighting her carefully wrought sentences until her characters lay down, as it were, at the side of the road and simply refused to go on. And then persons from Porlock, usually in the form of her mother, would call just as she saw her way out of the difficulty. There were certain pages, composed almost as if from dictation, with which she was entirely satisfied, but they seemed like the work of another person altogether, and remained in any case unfinished. No; the life of an author was certainly not an
easy one.

From The Ghost Writer by John Harwood, pp257-258

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on March 29, 2006 2:41 PM.

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