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Friday, November 4, 2016

Craftsmanship grows out of 'scraps and pieces'

 “Writing doesn't come real easy to me. I couldn't write a novel in a year. It wouldn't be readable. I don't let an editor even look at it until the second year, because it would just scare them. I just have to trust that all these scraps and dead-ends will find a way.” – Charles Frazier

As a “deliberate” writer myself – especially when I’m working on fiction – I can commiserate with Frazier and long ago decided that getting it done right, regardless of how long it takes to finish is the best route to follow.   Frazier agrees, noting, “Well, I'm a slow writer. For me, a good day is a page, maybe a page and a half. I'd love to be more efficient, but I am not.” 
Celebrating his 65th birthday today, Frazier is mostly lauded for his first novel, the terrific Cold Mountain – both an award-winning book and the movie that won Renee Zellweger her first Academy Award.  But I’m equally enamored with his novel Thirteen Moons and highly recommend it to all.   It is a story of both struggle and triumph against the emerging U.S. government's plan to remove native Cherokee people to Oklahoma. 
His writing is a study in how to draw upon the                      
culture and history of a region – in this case both his home state of North Carolina and Appalachia.   And, he said he loves both the music of the region and working to incorporate it into his writings.

“It always helps me connect with characters, to think about what music they respond to.”

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