Author: John McManus

Mapping the Novel

Early this month I printed out the 300 pages of my novel draft and laid them out in a snaking pattern, chapter by chapter, around my house. With my husband away at a theater fellowship, there was no one around to complain about the commandeering of every room. For the next two weeks I wandered about in the story at random, revising out of sequence, getting to know the layout. Most pages were on the floor, and it added some stretching and yoga to my writing day to get down close enough to see the words. By the end of it I could visualize a map of it from start to finish as easily as I can of the county in Tennessee where I grew up.

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Diary of Books

I’ve never kept a diary. At least not since I was eight, when my father bought two blank journals and suggested that he and I spend time together every evening writing in our diaries. For several weeks we did just that, sitting side by side on the living room couch and recording the events of the day. One day I came home from school and found my diary in the wrong place on the bookshelf. When I inquired about this, my dad said, “I have to admit something to you. I was so curious about what you’ve been writing that I couldn’t help myself, so I went in your room and read it.”

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