Sean Walsh

I live in Dublin, Ireland. Sometimes. Most times I live in my head, quite unaware of my surroundings – if you know what I mean… If you succeed in tracking Sean Walsh, please let me know, ok? I've been searching for him for years…

The Bottom Line

Published on Friday 17th May 2013 by Sean Walsh

When you’ve written something, you haven’t – you’ve written only the first draft. THEN the work begins in earnest. Writing, re-writing… draft after draft… editing, shaping, deleting…

Whenever I give a Creative Writing workshop I begin with this basic tenet, repeat it, end by repeating it a final time. I am always amazed at the numbers who look askance at me for even suggesting such a modus agendi, much less proposing it as a conditio sine qua non.

Yet there is no gainsaying the validity of my thesis; the Masters in any age will bear me out. Joyce, for example. Search out his original screed: page after page of edits, deletions, additions all along the margins and in his own hand…

Hemingway comes to mind. Oh, doesn’t he, just! A master craftsman; I have long been in awe of his word economy. And not just prose – he has written superb dialogue along the way, here and there, now and then…

A Farewell to Arms, for example. The last chapter, to be precise. If ever there was a love scene between a man and a woman! Beautiful, elegant, touching… And little or nothing of the conventional – He said… She replied… He asked etc. We KNOW who is speaking, who is saying what…

But now – and here’s the thing! – in an interview with the Paris Review way back when, Hemingway states that he wrote this chapter some 39 times – until he “got it right…”

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