How DeLillo Writes

I've been an avid fan of Don DeLillo ever since David Foster Wallace accused me of ripping off DeLillo's style in a story I wrote, when I was taking a workshop with Wallace at ISU, where I did my M.A. I hadn't read DeLillo before that, and have since read most of his books. DeLillo's papers were recently acquired by UT-Austin. The Panopticist blogs an article from the Austin American-Statesman, including a revealing annontation of the first page of White Noise. Among the revelations: DeLillo uses a typewriter, no PC, and he writes one paragraph at a time:

In the first drafts, this paragraph, like every paragraph DeLillo writes, gets a page to itself. It's a method DeLillo discovered while writing his previous book, “The Names”: He types one paragraph and then pulls the sheet out of the typewriter and scribbles changes on it. Later, he inserts a fresh sheet and types out another draft of the paragraph, and so on, until it's done. “The advantage is being able to see a fragment of prose more clearly if the page isn't entirely covered in words,” he explains. “If there are only five lines or ten lines — whatever the size of the paragraph — you can reread and rewrite with a little more clarity. It's as simple as that. I can simply see it better with a lot of blank space around it.

(via Jeremy)

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