The Putrid Process

When I picture how Lemony Snicket writes, I imagine him smashing away at an old type writer in an ancient hotel during a thunder storm.  My mental image would be hard pressed to contrast more with how Snicket, or should I say Daniel Handler, composes his work.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Daniel Handler illuminated his writing process.  After conceiving an idea for a book, he begins to read material he deems “appropriate” to his idea.  All the while he writes down many things on index cards and legal pads and mutters to himself.  He humorously stated that this process continues until, “suddenly I say, this is enough, get going, and it’s enough, and I get going.”

Handler states, “when you’re a writer, the important thing is to find the time to write, because you probably need to write one book and throw it away- if only one book.  You need to get a lot of bad writing out of the way before you can get the good writing done.”  Handler, who writes everything longhand on legal pads, therefore recommends to aspiring authors that they steal paper from work.

Half the time he writes from a desk at home, the other half at cafes.  All the while he munches on carrots and drinks lots of water.  Sometimes Handler listens to a Buddha Machine, which produces ambient sound for “times when music is too much and silence is not enough.”


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