A WRITER'S TIME: A Guide to the Creative Process from Vision through Revision by Kenneth Atchity

A WRITER'S TIME: A Guide to the Creative Process from Vision through Revision

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Jack Kerouac supposedly wrote On The Road in three weeks, while Katherine Anne Porter devoted 20 years to Ship of Fools. Writers seem to pace themselves in accordance with their own time clocks and who's to say they should organize their hours more effectively? Atchity, for one. He claims that this is ""the first book to apply time-management principles to the specific needs of writers."" The result, surprisingly, should be helpful to beginners and even to some seasoned writers. Like many similar efforts, an article has been pumped up into a full-blown book, with puffery frequently all but obliterating information. (Atchity calls the rational part of the mind ""the Continent,"" the organizational ""the Managing Editor,"" and intuition and imagination ""the islands."") The reader must struggle through this stuff to get to his central theme, which is how to inspire creativity, handle research, organize the text and produce drafts, revisions, and the final manuscript in the most productive way possible. He recommends that research be recorded on index cards which are then arranged in a logical sequence. The first draft, he says, should be typed pell-mell with no revisions, corrections or transitions (these are handled in the second draft). Time off should be taken before actual work begins and at the end of each step along the way to enable the unconscious mind to percolate fruitfully. He also recommends ending each typing session at mid-page with an uncompleted sentence. To get ideas flowing again, this half page, he says, should be retyped at the next session. Fiction follows much the same agenda, except Atchity admits that index cards are not useful for all novelists. He also includes a lot of information that has little to do with time management: how to develop fictional characters, plots, how to find a publisher and so on. There's much good sense in this attempt to help writers use time to better purpose--Kerouac and Porter notwithstanding. Useful, particularly for neophytes.

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1985
Publisher: Norton