You know that feeling you get when you read a fantastic book and it gives you shivers? When every page you turn makes you want to read more and more, and every sentence is so bloody good you want to read it twice and when you get to the end you’re devastated the book is over? I have been pondering about this lately, having recently read three books that took my breath away, THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA by Ernest Hemingway and THE RITUAL by Adam Nevill and CRUDDY by Lynda Barry, and having dug up more information on all [the] authors and having read this interview with Adam Nevill and having put WHAT IT IS by Lynda Barry (a book on her creative method) and Hemingway’s ON WRITING on hold at the library, and all this pondering led me to write this post.
What was it so special about these books that got me?
The consistency of the voices. And where does this consistency come from? From rewriting until you bleed out of your eyes, it seems. In his interview Adam said that “there are ten versions of The Ritual on my computer. In fact there are some chapters that I cut out. Although I really liked the chapters, my inner reader said: this doesn’t feel right…. You have to trust your inner reader, write a draft and then leave it. When you go back to it, ensure you look at it with fresh eyes. If you’re only able to write a couple of evenings a week, because of work and other commitments, every time you return to it, you often find that the voice has changed. A lot of the re-writing is about making the voice consistent throughout.”