William Gibson on a Writer’s Inner Life

William Gibson

“My wife says that when I emerge from my office and declare that not only am I writing a bad book, I’m writing the worst book anyone has ever started, then she knows that I’m two-thirds of the way there.”

The following material is excerpted from article: With ‘Spook Country,’ William Gibson is still carving out his corner of cyberspace, By Scott Timberg, Los Angeles Times, August 10, 2007:

Obsessed with science fiction

“I don’t think anyone told me that I was crazy,” William Gibson recalled last week, sitting on the leafy patio of a Creole restaurant near his home.

“But they didn’t read science fiction, they didn’t care. I suspect they sort of thought it was sad, to become obsessed with doing this stuff.”

From obsession to cyberpunk

Gibson, almost three decades later, has had the last laugh. The black hole he disappeared into, day after day after day, became “Neuromancer,” the 1984 “cyberpunk” novel about a keyboard cowboy that envisioned both the Internet and virtual reality years before either existed….

His ninth novel, “Spook Country,” takes place in the same world as its predecessor, “Pattern Recognition,” the tale of a “coolhunter” who is allergic to logos and brands….

I never start with intentions

Gibson, who hardly seems like the slick technophile his novels suggest, often has this trouble describing his work. “The part of me that walks around, that conducts interviews and behaves in the world, has no idea how to write a novel,” he said. “I never start with ideas and intentions at all.” …

And despite the exuberance of his prose — his early novels are positively psychedelic, and “Spook Country” inhabits so many different cities and subcultures it carries the reader on a bewildering rush — he admits he’s a bit of a grind when it comes to writing a book.

Slowly bits and pieces emerge

“If I sit there long enough and become sufficiently frustrated at the page being blank, little windows open up… little glimpses of mood and territory,” he said. “And very slowly bits and pieces emerge, and I find myself in the company of a character. But I don’t know what the character is doing.

“My wife says that when I emerge from my office and declare that not only am I writing a bad book, I’m writing the worst book anyone has ever started, then she knows that I’m two-thirds of the way there.”

At that point he can tear up what he’s written and reassemble it in a way that works. “I’ve trained myself to do something that’s nonrational or pre-rational,” he said. “If I had to pitch one of these things in any detail, I don’t think I could do it. I don’t think anybody would go for it.”

~ ~

“William Gibson’s first novel Neuromancer sold more than six million copies worldwide. Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive completed his first trilogy. He has since written six further novels, moving gradually away from science fiction and futuristic work, instead writing about the strange contemporary world we inhabit. His most recent novels are Pattern Recognition, Spook Country and Zero History, his non-fiction collection, Distrust That Particular Flavor, compiles assorted writings and journalism from across his career.” (Amazon.com profile)

~ ~ ~

Related :

Writing resources : interviews articles sites-programs

books: writing

Article: Being Creative and Self-critical

Article: In Praise of Positive Obsessions, by Eric Maisel, PhD.

~~~~~~~~~

Article publié pour la première fois le 26/09/2015