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Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Prescription for a Novel

Let's go back to the end. John Irving always begins his novels with the last sentence. It may be awhile before his next novel hits bookstores, but he's already begun the process by penning down the final sentence. In fact, he wrote the last line to his next novel on a prescription pad in January of 2005.

"I had it in my head and I was waiting in my doctor's office and I grabbed the pad and started writing. The doctor came in and I had to explain what I was doing."

But don't pre-order the new novel yet. Expect it to take half a decade or so. "It usually takes me six months from the last line to a first draft of the first chapter." Irving figures it takes an average of five to seven years for him to write a book. But consider yourself among the first to know that the coming Irving novel began as a line on a prescription pad.

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