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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Slow and steady is the pace

“The storytelling gift is innate: one has it or one doesn't. But style is at least partly a learned thing: one refines it by looking and listening and reading and practice - by work.”  – Donna Tartt

Born on this date in 1962, Donna Tartt is a writer whose pace is something I like to point out when I am talking about my own – which runs to the “slow and steady wins the race” type.  Usually one every 10 years.

Her novel The Little Friend, released in 2003, won the WH Smith Literary Award, and her 2013 book The Goldfinch won The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – not a bad track record.  On top of that, she was named to Time Magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People of 2014” list.   

A native of Mississippi, Tartt started serious writing as a first-year student at Ole Miss under the tutelage of fellow Mississippi author Barry Hannah, who was serving as Writer-in-Residence at the University.  Struck by her enthusiasm and ability, he enrolled her in his Graduate writing class.   Eventually she transferred to the renowned Bennington College (Vermont) writing program.   Her experiences there, along with her vivid imagination, led to her best-selling first novel The Secret History in 1992.

“My novels aren't really generated by a single conceptualspark,” she said.  “It's more 
a process of many different elements that come together unexpectedly over a long
 period of time.”  Like a decade, a timeline I can truly identify with.

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