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Micro Managers and Macro Planners

In the November 14, 2016 New Yorker is a fascinating article about the author Lee Child.

Academic and Child fan, Andy Martin, persuaded Child to let him sit in while Child was writing a novel. Child, a former English television exec named Jim Grant, began, using his index finger:

Moving a guy as big a Keever wasn’t easy. It was like trying to wrestle a king-size mattress off a waterbed. So they buried him close to the house. Which made sense anyway. The harvest was still a month away, and a disturbance in a field would show up from the air. And they would use the air, for a guy like Keever.

Martin read the opening as it was being written. Who is Keever? he asked.

Child’s answer: I’ve no idea at this point.

The article goes on to discuss the difference between Macro Planners, who lay out the structure of a story in advance and Micro Managers, who make it up as they go along. For Micro Managers (and that would be me) the novel exists only in its present moment. Child is the epitome of this type of novelist. . . and he has written 21 books.

The author of this article (John Lanchester) goes on to say that as a Macro Planner himself, he is dumbfounded, particularly since Child is writing a thriller.

So which are you? Most people at a recent HWG meeting said they were a combination of both. One woman suggested that if she had to Macro Plan, she’d never get to writing the novel. I’m with her.

In either case, authors agree that the RE-WRITE is essential.

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