"I’m trying to distance myself from the idea that youth is the best time of life, because a lot of my friends are really anxious about growing older. I’m studying classical drawing, which helps. It really slows things down. We can work an entire month on a single drawing. And I don’t plan on reaching my peak before the age of fifty."
Why I never went to Somerset House before Sunday, after almost 4 years in London, I have no idea. Why I have never been to Peru, well that’s another story but when I heard about the Futurismo Ancestral exhibition by Sixe Parades which examines the Peruvian aesthethic would be going on last weekend I was intrigued. It was a sunny day and nothing prepared me for the scale of the courtyard at Somerset House. It reminds me of Anglo-Irish buildings that I’ve seen in Dublin but on a giant scale.
The exhibition took place in the basement and this strange grey underground setting made it seem all the more vibrant. The first room was hung with rainbow coloured Andean style wall hangings. We then passed through corridors below streetlevel to a damp, strange subterranean room, complete with ancient grave stones set into the wall, where it was so dark that the light had an eerie glow like candlelight. The bright Peruvian tapestries were most effective here, the strange setting giving the viewer the feeling that they alone are discovering the sacred nature of the artefacts. Uncovering a Peruvian essence, even if they can’t afford to get to Peru.
This subtle exhibition is a treat for the visual senses.
Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.
ohheyitslivia asked: Hi Laurie! My name is Livia & I run yeahwriters(.)tumblr(.)com, which (I think?) is Tumblr's biggest writing help blog. I'm a long time fan of yours (Speak made me want to write!) & just read a bunch of your awesome AMA (LOVE the John Greenification q&a). I had a question about when you said your books take 7 or 8 drafts--when you say that, do you mean rounds of edits to your first draft, or actual start-to-finish rewrites? I'm a terrible self editor and have always wondered about this. Thanks!!
Start-to-finish rewrites. My first drafts are atrociously awful, so I need to put a lot of energy and focus into revision. As in, put the manuscript down for a couple of weeks, dissect it, and try to make it better.
My early revisions are all about crafting the structure of the story, which means reworking the chronology, throwing out scenes, making new scenes, etc. Then I go through the whole things again with an eye toward the interior life of the characters and trying to make the conflicts they are in and their exterior world manifest that somehow.
At this point, I share it with my editor, then I snatch it back because I suddenly realize a whole bunch of changes that I want to make. The final revisions focus on language and try to make the dialog sound realistic.
And then my editor sends armed mercenaries to my house to pry the now-overdue manuscript out of my hands.
Does that help?
Omg omg omg Laurie Halse Anderson answered my question!!! I’m going to faint!
Haha rereading how I worded this ask, I feel like an idiot, but oh well. So much to say, so few characters.
And wow, this answer is amazing! I wasn’t lying when I said I suck at editing, I always feel like I’m tripping over myself. But this feels like a really good strategy—to rewrite a story over and over, each time focusing on enhancing certain elements. Why didn’t I think of that!? I suppose this is why I’m not a famous author and she is.
Thank you so much Laurie, this definitely helps loads!!