What follows is a version of a lecture given to the students of Columbia University’s writing programme in New York on Monday 24th March 2008. The brief: “to speak about some aspect of your craft.”
1. Macro Planners and Micro Managers
First, a caveat: what I have to say about craft extends no further than my own experience, which is what it is—12 years and three novels. Although this lecture will be divided into ten short sections meant to mark the various stages in the writing of a novel, what they most accurately describe, in truth, is the writing of my novels. That being said, I want to offer you a pair of ugly terms for two breeds of novelist: the Macro Planner and the Micro Manager.
You will recognise a Macro Planner from his Post-its, from those Moleskines he insists on buying. A Macro Planner makes notes, organises material,