How do writers work? Where do writers write? How do they edit their work? Who reads the drafts? Who helps them with the editing? What can be learned from the editing process? These are all questions which I have had as a novice writer.
This week I found some magnificient interviews in the Paris Review, http://www.theparisreview.org/search?q=The+Art+of+Fiction in which writers are interviewed at length about the writing process. I have been particularly interested to read about the process my favourite authors have gone through.
I was prompted in my search to find some examples of edited manuscripts by the comments of an editor, Ben Searle, at a recent London Meet Up. I tracked down a book edited by Jay Woodruff called A Piece of Work in which he interviewd five writers about their revisions. I have only had the book a day but have dipped in to it and found some interesting advice. I do not keep copies of the original notes and the drafts only survive if I have done a complete rewrite and saved the work in a different location. The disadvantage of this is that I cannot chart the development of the novel or the writing process. This was something brought up in the discussion with Tobias Wolff. Joyce Carol Oates, on the other hand, appeared to keep lots of notes written on different surfaces providing subsequent reviewers with a wealth of information about the way she writes.
I am currently rewriting a book I almost finished several months ago. Since I am reusing different parts of the original I am literally writing over the top of it. This process is allowing me to see how I have progressed as a writer and how my story has developed. My wish is that at the end of the process I will produce a better book.