Sunday, November 8, 2009
How to Write a Great Novel: Junot Diaz
Source: Wall Street Journal
"I think 90% of my ideas evaporate because I have a terrible memory and because I seem to be committed to not scribble anything down," he says. "As soon as I write it down, my mind rejects it."
Juggling everything in his head has drawbacks, one of which is writing very slowly, he says. He threw out two earlier versions of his novel, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao"—the equivalent of about 600 pages—before the final version began to take shape. He also researches obsessively. When writing "Oscar Wao," he read J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy half a dozen times to get inside the head of his protagonist, an overweight Dominican teenager who's obsessed with fantasy and science fiction.
He often listens to orchestral movie soundtracks as he writes, because he's easily distracted by lyrics. When he needs to seal himself off from the world, he retreats into the bathroom and sits on the edge of the tub. "It drove my ex crazy," he says. "She would always know I was going to write because I would grab a notebook and run into the bathroom."
Read what other authors says about how to write a great novel: