Terrific Interview w/ David Means

via The Rumpus:

Rumpus: In terms of how you work, how many drafts do you usually put your stories through? How planned out are they in advance, and what do you start with?

Means: I could never plan them out in advance beyond a small seed, maybe an image, or a character in a specific predicament.  I might have more of a story in mind, but I hold it for a long time before I write about it.  I’m still holding onto all of my family stuff.  When I’m ready, when I’m inspired, I’ll start to write a rough draft by hand.  After typing it up, sometimes months later, I’ll begin to revise.  Some stories take many, many drafts over a long period of time.  Each story has its own set of demands.  I think it was William Maxwell who said you need to respect the story as much as possible.  I throw stories away.  Sometimes I hold onto the early draft for a few years and let my subconscious do the work. I have a long credo tacked to the wall.  Part of it says:  “Do not compromise.  Go as deep as you can.  If in the end it has to be thrown away, throw it away.”

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