Jessica
Jessica asked Jeff VanderMeer:

Pictures of your notes for novels are infamous. Can you tell us about your system of writing and how it works for you?

Jeff VanderMeer Thanks for the question, Jessica. I am allergic to the idea of efficiency in process. The point isn't to get to the end point fast but in the right way. So often I will think about a novel for a few months before writing it, letting things in the world around me kind of accrete around characters and situations. A lot of scraps of papers and scribbles on notecards and in little journals accumulate during this period...Then at some point I begin to write the rough draft...in longhand. Once I've got a draft or a most of a draft, I'll type it up on the computer, print it out, and then rewrite it in longhand. I repeat this process until the point where I think the novel's in decent shape, and the I switch entirely to the computer. I just find that longhand allows me to enter into the dream of fiction easier, so to speak, and it also helps me do more radical revision than revising on a computer. So I build up the text, break it down, build it back up, and keep going until it's right. A bit like making bread from scratch, I guess. Knead it, knead it, get it right before you put it in the oven to bake it....It's probably no surprise that I dislike computer programs meant to help your organize and outline your fiction. They tend to rule out happy accidents and other random events that you need to expose yourself to to get somewhere interesting. At least, for me...

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