This is a very partial list that follows no particular order.
- My parents
- Vladimir Nabokov
- Stephen King
- Evelyn Waugh
- Jim Thompson
- Ruth Rendell
- Elmore Leonard
- John Fowles
- Kurt Vonnegut
- David Mamet
- David Ives
- Sam Shepard
- Graham Greene
- Samuel Beckett
- Tom Wolfe
- Richard Dawkins
Both the Bible and the Babylonian Talmud have affected my life immeasurably.
Spare time? Pshaw. Perhaps you hadn’t heard, but we now have a son. So in my spare time, I bootlessly attempt to gather the tattered remnants of my dignity.
Much of a play’s flesh is provided by its director, designers, actors, and crew. Theater is collaborative; as such, a playwright is never wholly responsible for the success or failure of any given moment.
But the novelist is. Writing a book is like scripting, directing, lighting, setting, scoring, costuming, acting, and teching a show by yourself. You have to hold several dozen competing concerns in your head at once. While I have an editor, the ratio of her input to mine is pretty small, certainly less than that of a director alone to a playwright.
Moreover, at the risk of stating the obvious, novels tend to be far longer than plays. This has the effect of requiring more of everything, especially more story.
In the wake of those two considerations, I feel that writing a novel is roughly a hundred times harder than writing a play. I’ll probably inflame the wrath of a lot of playwrights by saying that—playwrights being, by nature, a contentious bunch. But it’s true for me, anyway.
Few people have excelled in both media. Thornton Wilder leaps to mind.
Unfortunately, no. It’s my policy not to handle work that hasn’t already been accepted for publication. This is per the instructions of my agent and my attorney.
The one thing I can do is offer you a bit of advice (see the previous question). If what you’re looking for can’t be found there, you’re always welcome to write to me with general questions about the writing business.
Typically I work in the morning. I begin by rewriting the previous day’s material, which helps ensure a sense of continuity, and which has the additional benefit of making the first draft feel more polished.
I write for five to six hours, stopping when my back gives out. In the evening I’ll return to work for another couple of hours. I aim to write at least ten new pages a day.
Sure. Here you go.
No. But when I was a kid, every so often we would get her mail. I remember when I was about seven, getting an invitation to the LA Clippers draft party, addressed to Ms. Sally. I begged my mother to let me go, but she refused–mostly because it was for the Clippers.