Why It’s Important to Take Time Writing Classic Literature

classic literatureI am editing the middle of my novel. I am changing it from the third person to the first person. I am also cutting the fat, since it’s been about a year since I’ve tinkered with this part. Much of the stuff I’m changing is narrative stuff: “He went to the door,” etc. Gone.

And since I’m reading a German novel known for its philosophical meditations, I’m thinking about how my book compares. I watch my scenes unfold in a similar style: scene opens, usually over food, two characters talk, they agree, or agree to disagree, or come to an understanding, and the scene ends. Much of the content is there, I think, although it still needs refinement. But the style needs mixing up. But that’s okay. That will come in time, when I finish The Magic Mountain.

I asked my co-worker Tim, who’s pretty knowledgeable about music what he thinks of the new Atlas Sound album. “I haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m over that guy. He puts out too many albums for me to like him. I mean, they’re good, but I just don’t care any more.” Precisely. Same thing with Joyce Carol Oates. Fifty novels in fifty years? Which ones classify as classic literature? I’d rather be like James Joyce and write four, taking my time to make sure they’re just right — even if it does make me seem crazy.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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