A scholar watched a novelist write a best-seller, and then wrote a book about it
Martin contacted Child and asked whether he could observe the entire writing process for the 20th Reacher novel, Make Me. Amazingly, Child said yes.
‘So far I have no title, no real plot…. I don’t have a clue about what is going to happen,’ Child tells Martin on the first day. This, for most novelists, would be a startling admission, especially in crime fiction where plotting is paramount. Martin perches on a couch as Child sits down, lights a cigarette, and begins to write. By the end of the day, Child has smoked 26 Camels, drunk 19 cups of coffee (‘I’m writing on the verge of a stroke,’ he quips) and written 2,000 words. It’s fascinating to watch the process of writing unfolding in real time — the hours Child spends agonising over a particular word choice, the weighing up between different types of POV, the slow accretion of plot and forward momentum. [link]