The New Yorker exchanged words with Wells Towers.  Some of the words were really interesting and illuminating:

What’s your revision process like?

I tend to be a flash-and-burn reviser. After the collection was bought, I threw out two of the stories that were in the original manuscript, and then I completely tore down and rewrote over half the stories with different characters or different points of view. There is very little shared DNA between the draft that Farrar, Straus & Giroux bought and what we ended up publishing. I went a little bit crazy, but I think the stories are stronger for all the wrecking balls I brought. Even after my editor signed off on my radical decisions, I was still doing them, not from any editorial perspective, but more out of an anxiety and yearning to be better. And not wanting to commit.

So he didn’t just sit down and write a perfect book?  And what was published was different from what was bought???

On his “process” (gag)

The trick is to will yourself into the hypnotic state where you believe your own language and your own story. You have to pare out distractions, especially the vast banality of the Internet, which I find lethal to fiction writing. Fiction is so much harder and scarier to write than nonfiction. It requires an enormous amount of concentration and faith to carve out that little bit of space into which you can insert a world that feels real.

I have a nonfiction desk and a fiction desk, and I’ve deliberately not gotten wireless Internet. In order to go online, I have to go over to the nonfiction desk. 

Wait, other people’s writing is crippled, or preempted, by the internet?  As much as want other people to not be haunted by this problem, it’s always a bit reassuring to know I’m not that only one suffering.  The internet is a cruel mistress, but at least she’s a fair one.

I don’t know where this came from, but somewhere along the way he said

With fiction, there’s no reason why everything you write shouldn’t be amazing. Nobody’s stopping you from making up better stuff.

We just went over this.  Someone is!  It’s the internet!  

Okay, fine, you’re right.  If that’s not a wise kick-in-the-ass, I don’t know what is.

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