The reason I've never looked at any kind of style manual or how-to-write guide is not that I don't think anyone has anything to teach me ... In fact, I'm sure every man, woman and child on earth has something they can teach me, and probably something I could use in writing a book ...
but everything I have every written - and I'm sure the experience is a common one, with the exception of the most committed genre writers - has posed such a unique set of problems, that no general manual could have helped.
I have never needed to know 'how to write dialogue' ... I have needed to know, for example in The Mary Smokes Boys, 'how to write dialogue between two young uneducated horse workers when one is in love with the other's sister' ... I have never needed to know how to describe landscape but instead, in The Darkest Little Room, 'how to describe the way Saigon is late at night on the back of a motorbike in the outskirts of the city that seem to unravel endlessly, as in a dream'.
I would happily have read How to Write The Mary Smokes Boys or How to Write The Darkest Little Room, but alas, those volumes were not available when I was writing those books. Even better, some diligent student could have read them and written the novels better than I have, and I would have been glad to see them in their proper incarnations.
And so it is with the new book ... I am seeking an entirely new language once more, I read other authors and every now and then get a flash of what I want ... a sound, an atmosphere, a rhythm ... and then I am in the dark again. Inevitably, I will almost write the book. It will almost be that book I so wish some better, more intelligent other would write properly, so I could simply read.
Pensees - spelling and punctuation mistakes and all ... I believe at least three quarters of what I say. ... And the good stuff only stays posted for an hour or two.