I have to exhaust the emotion before I feel clinical enough to analyze and project it [...] by the time I write a story I may longer have any hunger for it, but I feel I thoroughly know its flavor. [...]
Like Proust and Twain (and unlike those who stood to write - Dickens, Churchill, Woolf, Hemingway, Roth), Capote wrote in bed:
I am a completely horizontal author. I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch, and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I’ve got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis. No, I don’t use a typewriter. Not in the beginning. I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand. Essentially, I think of myself as a stylist, and stylists can become notoriously obsessed with the placing of a comma, the weight of a semicolon. Obsessions of this sort, and the time I take over them, irritate me beyond endurance.
Let’s see ... that was the second draft. Then I type a third draft on yellow paper, a very special kind of yellow paper. No, I don’t get out of bed to do this. I balance the machine on my knees. Sure, it works fine; I can manage 100 words a minute. Well, when the yellow draft is finished, I put the manuscript away for a while: a week, a month, sometimes longer. When I take it out again, I read it as coldly as possible, then read it aloud to a friend or two and decide what changes I want to make, and whether or not I want to publish it. I’ve thrown away rather a few short stories, an entire novel and half of another. But if all goes well, I type the final version on white paper, and that’s that. [...]
At one time I used to keep notebooks with outlines for stories. But I found doing this somehow deadened the idea in my imagination. If the notion is good enough, if it truly belongs to you, then you can't forget it - it will haunt you till it's written. [...]
I suppose my superstitiousness could be termed a quirk. I have to add up all numbers: there are some people I never telephone because their number adds up to an unlucky figure. Or I won’t accept a hotel room for the same reason. I will not tolerate the presence of yellow roses — which is sad, because they’re my favourite flower.
I can’t allow three cigarette butts in the same ashtray. Won’t travel on a plane with two nuns. Won’t begin or end anything on a Friday. It’s endless, the things I can’t and won’t. But I derive some curious comfort from obeying these primitive concepts.