Rewriting is at the heart of the operation. It takes at least four pages to get a single one that is clean. He writes in longhand, then types it on a typewriter. In this respect he is defiantly unevolved.
“When I started to write,” he says, “I just used a typewriter and crossed out lines with Xs. It took for ever and it didn’t look good. These days people say to me, ‘Can you e-mail that to me?’ and I say ‘No, I can’t.’ [...]
He was both obsessive and ordered from the start, working at his typewriter from five to seven in the morning before going to write advertising blurbs for Chevrolet. In 1960 he took $11,500 from a profit share and turned to full-time writing.
Being a good author is a disappearing act. These are rules I’ve picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I’m writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what’s taking place in the story. [...] My most important rule is one that sums up the 10. If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
More How we work.