酷兔英语
文章标签:方法  

喜欢在浴室里创作的朱诺特•迪亚斯(Junot Diaz),到穿得跟小说人物一样的尼科尔森•贝克(Nicholson Baker),11位顶尖作家与我们分享他们如何写出惊世名作的方法。

Robert Rodriguez

理查德•鲍威尔斯(Richard Powers)会整天躺在床上,对着有语音识别软件的笔记本电脑大声说出小说的情节。凭借《奥斯卡•瓦奥短暂而奇异的一生》('The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao')赢得普利策奖(Pulitzer)的朱诺特•迪亚斯每当要处理一段理不清的章节时,总会把自己关在浴室里,带着笔记本电脑坐在浴缸的边沿上。以描写英国都铎王朝的历史小说《狼厅》(Wolf Hall)获得今年布克大奖(Man Booker Prize)的希拉里•曼特尔(Hilary Mantel)一写不下去的时候,就会跑去淋浴。曼特尔女士说,我没法告诉你,我的小说里有多少页是被水浇出来的。

今年的文学界异常多产,一些响当当的作家都有新作问世。石黑一雄(Kazuo Ishiguro) 、奥尔罕•帕慕克(Orhan Pamuk)、鲍威尔斯先生和尼科尔森•贝克等一众著名作家均有新书面市。

而在光鲜表面的背后,许多作家都表示,他们的日常写作生活着实很幸苦,盯着空白页面和电脑屏幕的时间多达几千个小时,更不用说那种形单影只的孤独感了。大多数作家都表示他们面临一些共同的障碍:拖延,文思枯竭(writer's block),害怕新书失败的恐惧,以及互联网强大的眼球吸引力。

当被问及他们如何写作的时候,有几个作家难掩怒气。理查德•福特(Richard Ford )拒绝透露自己的写作习惯,他在一封电子邮件中解释说,那都是些"我希望在读书会和演讲后没人来问我的"问题。还有一些作家则大谈细枝末节,甚至小到他们喜欢的钢笔品牌(阿米塔夫•戈什(Amitav Ghosh)非常相信牌百利金(Pelikan)钢笔)或者字体大小(安妮•赖斯(Anne Rice)通常使用14号Courier字体;美国国家图书奖(National Book Award)入围者科伦•麦克恩(Colum McCann)有时候会使用8号Times New Roman字体,迫使自己眯着眼睛才能看清)。现在,也有一些作家主动向粉丝提供关于自己写书过程的窗口,在博客和Twitter上报告自己的创作进展。约翰•欧文(John Irving)就在自己的网站上描绘,他总是先写出小说的最后一句话,才开始小说的开头部分。

以下是一些著名作家与我们分享的写作经历──这个过程可以相当孤单、枯燥,时而充满挫折感、时而又让人兴奋不已。

Corbis
尼科尔森•贝克

尼科尔森•贝克

大多数时候,住在缅因州South Berwick的尼科尔森•贝克会在早上4点起床写作。他会关掉所有的灯,将笔记本电脑屏幕调整到黑色,将文本设置为灰色,这样黑夜就不会被打断。在经过几个小时他自己所称的"梦幻状态"的写作之后,他会先上床睡觉,然后再在8点30分起床编辑他的工作。

奥尔罕•帕慕克

Writer Pictures
奥尔罕•帕慕克

土耳其作家、诺贝尔文学奖(Nobel)得主奥尔罕•帕慕克经常会把小说的第一句话写上50或者100遍。帕慕克先生说,"最难的事情莫过于第一句话──这很痛苦。"他基于伊斯坦布尔70年代一段爱情故事的新作《天真的博物馆》('The Museum of Innocence')刚刚于上个月出版。

帕慕克先生习惯在方格纸笔记本上手写创作,在一页上写作,留下下一页用来修正,他常常会在修改部分画上气球形的对话框。接着,帕慕克会将笔记本交到打字员那里,由他们打成手稿;然后,他再在上面作标记,送去重打。这个过程要重复三四次。

希拉里•曼特尔

英国作家希拉里•曼特尔喜欢在早上开口说话或者喝咖啡之前就开始写东西。她通常会草草几下有关自己梦境的想法和笔记。她说,"如果我不这样做的话,我会觉得脑子乱哄哄的。"

石黑一雄

Reuters
石黑一雄

石黑一雄已经出版六部小说,其中包括布克大奖的得主《落日余辉》('Remains of the Day')。他通常会为一部小说花上两年的时间做研究,然后用一年的时间进行创作。由于他的小说以第一人称叙事,叙事的腔调尤其重要,因此他会从不同人物的角度写上几个章节,对叙事者进行"试听"。在开始写草稿之前,他会编制笔记文件夹、流程图,不仅策划故事情节,而且也关乎情节展开后更为微妙的层面,比如人物的情感或者记忆。

迈克尔•翁达杰(MICHAEL ONDAATJE)

《英国病人》('English Patient')的作者迈克尔•翁达杰喜欢使用8 1/2x11英寸大小的Muji品牌系列的笔记本。他通常会手写完成最初三四稿,有时候还用剪刀和胶带对段落、甚至整个章节剪剪贴贴。他的有些笔记本,里页叠着四层。

对于翁达杰先生来说,写作本身很容易,大多数工作是整理和重写语句。他说,"我不大理解文思堵塞这个概念。如果我在哪里卡住了,我就写别的情节。"他说自己目前正在创作一部小说,但是不愿透露详情。

Writers Pictures
迈克尔•翁达杰

以诗人身份开始创作生涯的翁达杰先生表示,故事情节对他来说常常就是"对某些小事的一瞥"。他1992年的小说《英国病人》以两种形像开始整个故事:一个是一位病人躺在床上跟护士说话;另外一个则是一个小偷正在偷取自己的照片。

有时候,翁达杰先生会经历一个"混乱"阶段,去除人物或者重新整理情节。他说,"有些作家在他们开始创作之前就会知道最后一句话要写什么──可我甚至连第二句话要写什么都搞不清楚"。翁达杰先生最新著作《分界》('Divisadero')于2007年出版。



理查德•鲍威尔斯

理查德•鲍威尔斯的小说常常由概念来推动,情节复杂,充斥着晦涩难解的科学。他过去的三部小说都是他躺在床上、通过语音识别软件对着一台笔记本电脑读出来的。

为了创作最近一部关于寻找幸福基因的小说《慷慨》('Generosity'),鲍威尔斯先生一直象这样每天连续工作八九个小时。他使用铁笔在触摸屏上进行编辑,重组语句,给某些词语做上标记。

凯特•克里斯滕森(Kate Christensen)

凯特•克里斯滕森在创作她的第一部小说《醉梦人生》('In the Drink')──讲述一位嗜酒的受雇写手的故事──的时候,开始并没有搞清楚这本书到底要讲什么。在写了两年,写下了150页后,她彻底颠覆了草稿,扔掉了其中很多章节,又重新开始。她说,这个过程在她写第二、第三和第四部小说的时候再次上演。关于她2009年的新作《麻烦》('Trouble'),小说开头也卡住了。这是一部讲述两位女性去墨西哥冒险的故事。克里斯滕森女士说,她的许多写作时间都是花在"什么也不写"上的。家住纽约Tribeca的克里斯滕森女士在大多数早上都会收拾家务,写邮件,打电话,以免面对自己的工作。过去,她在打下第一句话之前,会玩上30次纸牌游戏。

玛格丽特•阿特伍德(Margaret Atwood)

当被问到她是从哪里获得故事灵感的时候,玛格丽特•阿特伍德说,"左手放在桌上。右手举在空中。如果你一直保持这种姿势,你就会有小说情节了。"当被问到她是否真的用过这种方法的时候,她补充说,"不,我用不着。"

已经创作了13部小说,还有诗歌、短篇小说和其它非小说文学作品的阿特伍德女士很少会陷入文思阻塞。当灵感袭来时,她会在纸巾上、餐馆的菜单上、报纸的空白处草草写下短语和笔记。她通常会对故事情节的展开路线有个大致的概念,"但往往却是错的,"她说。接着,她会在手写和电脑写作之间来来回回。当一段情节开始成型,她会打印出有关章节,然后在地板上把它们整理成堆,接着通过移动不同堆的内容决定先后次序。

有两次,阿特伍德女士在写了几百页之后放弃了整部小说,一次是在60年代,一次是在80年代初期。所幸,她从其中一部小说里拯救了一句话,由另外一部小说创作了两个短篇小说,其中一篇就是《急流漩》('The Whirlpool Rapids')


How To Write A Great Novel
Alexandra Alter

[From writing in the bathroom (Junot Di­az) to dressing in character (Nicholson Baker), 11 top authors share their methods for getting the story on the page]

Richard Powers lounges in bed all day and speaks his novels aloud to a laptop computer with voice-recognition software. Junot Diaz, author of the Pulitzer-prize winning novel 'The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,' shuts himself in the bathroom and perches on the edge of the tub with his notebook when he's tackling a knotty passage. Hilary Mantel, whose Tudor drama 'Wolf Hall' claimed this year's Man Booker Prize, jumps in the shower when she gets stuck. 'The number of pages I've got that are water marked, I can't tell you,' Ms. Mantel said.

An unusuallyrobust crop of books from some of the biggest names in literature has landed this fall. Kazuo Ishiguro, Orhan Pamuk, Mr. Powers and Nicholson Baker have new books out, along with a host of other prominent authors.

Behind the scenes, many of these writers say they struggle with the daily work of writing, clocking thousands of solitary hours staring at blank pages and computer screens. Most agree on common hurdles: procrastination, writer's block, the terror of failure that looms over a new project and the attention-sucking power of the Internet.

A few authors bristle when asked the inevitable question about how they write. Richard Ford declined to reveal his habits, explaining in an email that those are 'the questions I hope no one asks me after readings and lectures.' Others revel in spilling minute details, down to their preferred brand of pen (Amitav Ghosh swears by black ink Pelikan pens) or font size (Anne Rice uses 14-point Courier; National Book Award finalist Colum McCann sometimes uses eight-point Times New Roman, forcing himself to squint at the tiny type). Some now offer fans a window into the process, reporting on their progress on blogs and Twitter feeds. On his author Web site, John Irving describes how he begins his novels by writing the last sentence first.

Here is how a range of leading authors describe their approach to writing -- a process that can be lonely, tedious, frustrating and exhilarating.

NICHOLSON BAKER

Most days, Nicholson Baker rises at 4 a.m. to write at his home in South Berwick, Maine. Leaving the lights off, he sets his laptop screen to black and the text to gray, so that the darkness is uninterrupted. After a couple of hours of writing in what he calls a dreamlike state, he goes back to bed, then rises at 8:30 to edit his work.

ORHAN PAMUK

Turkish novelist and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk often rewrites the first line of his novels 50 or 100 times. 'The hardest thing is always the first sentence -- that is painful,' says Mr. Pamuk, whose book, 'The Museum of Innocence,' a love story set in 1970s Istanbul, came out last month.

Mr. Pamuk writes by hand, in graph-paper notebooks, filling a page with prose and leaving the adjacent page blank for revisions, which he inserts with dialogue-like balloons. He sends his notebooks to a speed typist who returns them as typed manuscripts; then he marks the pages up and sends them back to be retyped. The cycle continues three or four times.

HILARY MANTEL

British novelist Hilary Mantel likes to write first thing in the morning, before she has uttered a word or had a sip of coffee. She usually jots down ideas and notes about her dreams. 'I get very jangled if I can't do it,' she says.

KAZUO ISHIGURO

KAZUO Ishiguro, author of six novels, including the Booker-prize winning 'Remains of the Day,'typically spends two years researching a novel and a year writing it. Since his novels are written in the first person, the voice is crucial, so he 'auditions' narrators by writing a few chapters from different characters' points of view. Before he begins a draft, he compiles folders of notes and flow charts that lay out not just the plot but also more subtle aspects of the narrative, such as a character's emotions or memories.

MICHAEL ONDAATJE

The novel 'English Patient' author Michael Ondaatje's preferred medium is 8 1/2-by-11-inch Muji brand lined notebooks. He completes the first three or four drafts by hand, sometimes literally cutting and pasting passages and whole chapters with scissors and tape. Some of his notebooks have pages with four layers underneath.

Words come easily for the author -- the bulk of the work is arranging and rewriting sentences. 'I don't understand this whole concept of writer's block,' says Mr. Ondaatje, who says he is working on a novel at the moment but declines to elaborate. 'If I get stuck, I work on another scene.'

Mr. Ondaatje, who started out as a poet, says plots often come to him as 'a glimpse of a small situation.' His 1992 novel 'The English Patient' started out as two images: one of a patient lying in bed talking to a nurse, and another of a thief stealing a photograph of himself.

Sometimes he goes through an 'anarchic' stage, cutting out characters or rearranging scenes. 'Some writers know what the last sentence is going to be before they begin -- I don't even know what the second sentence is going to be,' says Mr. Ondaatje, whose most recent novel, 'Divisadero,' came out in 2007.

RICHARD POWERS

Richard Powers, whose books are often concept-driven, intricately plotted and stuffed with arcane science, wrote his last three novels while lying in bed, speaking to a lap-top computer with voice-recognition software.

To write 'Generosity,' his recent novel about the search for a happiness gene, he worked like this for eight or nine hours a day. He uses a stylus pen to edit on a touch screen, rewriting sentences and highlighting words.

KATE CHRISTENSEN

Kate Christensen was two years and 150 pages into her first novel, 'In the Drink,' about a boozy ghostwriter, before she discovered what the book was really about -- so she dismantled the draft, threw out a bunch of pages and started over. The process repeated itself with her second, third and fourth novels, she says. With her 2009 novel 'Trouble,' a story about two women who go on a Thelma and Louise-like adventure to Mexico, the opening finally stuck. Ms. Christensen, who works out of her home in Tribeca, says a lot of her writing time is spent 'not writing.' Most mornings, she does housework, writes emails and talks on the phone to avoid facing her work. In the past, she's played 30 games of solitaire before typing a first sentence.

MARGARET ATWOOD

'Put your left hand on the table. Put your right hand in the air. If you stay that way long enough, you'll get a plot,' Margaret Atwood says when asked where her ideas come from. When questioned about whether she's ever used that approach, she adds, 'No, I don't have to.'

Ms. Atwood, who has written 13 novels, as well as poetry, short stories and nonfiction works, rarely gets writer's block. When ideas hit her, she scribbles phrases and notes on napkins, restaurant menus, in the margins of newspapers. She starts with a rough notion of how the story will develop, 'which usually turns out to be wrong,' she says. She moves back and forth between writing longhand and on the computer. When a narrative arc starts to take shape, she prints out chapters and arranges them in piles on the floor, and plays with the order by moving piles around.

Twice, she's abandoned books after a couple hundred pages, one in the late 1960s and another in the early 1980s. She was able to salvage a single sentence from one book, and carved two short stories out of the other, including one titled 'The Whirlpool Rapids.'

Alexandra Alter



文章标签:方法