Bonjour from Kathmandu.

Divin duck time…

Though the ‘experts’ tell us, nowadays, to edit no more than 4 times, and they mock us if we do more, I don’t agree.  Each one of us has a different set-up.  Perhaps the ‘expert’ can ‘get the office ready for writing 10 hours a day. Get it down, right to the coffee mug…’  I can’t.  I tried, and it was a disaster.  If I described what it’s like writing a book in Kathmandu, Nepal, where we have 14 plus hours a day with NO electricity, water shortages, in a hotel room with no coffee mug or even a proper

desk …Image

However, I quite enjoy writing books in Kathmandu Nepal, so I won’t trouble you.  I will sympathize with your set-up, whatever it is.  One of my students in Denver was so wealthy that all the deep carpets oppressed her. She had writer’s block, which was unfortunate.  I think she had a lot to say.  

The point is: editing is probably best done a bit more than four times.  It’s personal, and depends on the mss you’re working on and how affluent you are, how healthy, where you write, etc.  If you return from your day job (the one that pays the bills so you can write) at 2 am, you might need to edit a bit more slowly than the ‘expert.’

Hemingway, for example, edited more than that.  (By the by:  I wish I’d read more interesting contemporary prose.  I like his short stories, especially the ones about being a tramp and fighting back…)

The book I’m finishing up required more research than I’ve ever done for one job, and this surprised me.  I asterisked the things I was unsure of, then dropped in the ‘facts.’ But inserting the correct facts usually meant changing the whole scene. You need to keep the pace, the tone, the vocabulary, the point of view, and so on. As you well know!

The photo is Joseph Haydn’s house in Vienna.  An older contemporary of Mozart who wore livery at his job. (He was, as you know, court composer for kings. His rank was about the same as the butler’s.)

I hope your days are also golden.  Like a yoga colleague said to her classes, ‘count your blessings at least once a day.’

Mary Ann Davis in Kathmandu, Nepal







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