Writer’s Desk: Use That First Draft

Back in 2015, when he was promoting his novel Nora Webster, Colm Tóibín talked about the advantages of growing older, from a personal standpoint:

That’s one of the things you learn as you grow older. That if you don’t like someone, you never like them, and they never like you. It’s not something you grow out of, no.

While this might suggest a somewhat relaxed worldview, Tóibín in fact approaches his work like he’s on a clock:

I mean, well, there are writers who do drafts, knowing there will be later drafts, and that works for them, but I don’t do that. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be later drafts, but I write as though I will never get another chance.

This might not work for some who prefer to write long then cut. But it’s hard to argue with the practicality of putting it all down as you intended in one blaze and then moving on. Life is short. Books take a long time.

Readers’ Corner: The 2013 Man Booker Prize

harvest-194x300In case you were curious about where to place your money when betting on which book is going to win this year’s Man Booker Prize, the gambling quants over at Ladbrokes have done the math and proclaimed that Jim Crace is going to win this time, for his novel, Harvest. Here’s the odds rundown for the six shortlisted novels:

  • Jim Crace, Harvest — 11/8
  • Eleanor Catton, The Luminaries — 11/4
  • Colm Toibin, The Testament of Mary — 4/1
  • Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being — 8/1
  • Noviolet Bulawayo, We Need New Names — 9/1
  • Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowlands — 9/1

The announcement comes tomorrow.

UPDATE: Looks like the Ladbrokes lads were a tad off: the prize was won by Eleanor Catton’s 832-page epic The Luminaries. Which apparently she started writing when she was 25.