William Styron

Eric Homberger has written a nice obituary of William Styron. I loved this description of how and where he wrote:

Styron wrote his books in longhand using a No2 pencil on yellow lined paper. A good day’s work might see him complete two or three pages of manuscript. A quotation from Flaubert was displayed in his study: “Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work”.

I see now where I went wrong. I’ve been trying to avoid becoming bourgeois all my life. Sigh.

The Boston Globe obit adds something else about his craftsmanship:

Mr. Styron wrote in longhand on yellow legal pads, striving for 500 words a day. He preferred to write just one draft of a book, getting each page just right before proceeding to the next, rather than revising a completed draft. His own harshest critic, Mr. Styron had a self-described “neurotic need to be perfect each paragraph — each sentence, even — as I go along.”