Zadie Smith on the First Twenty Pages

Worrying over the first twenty pages is a way of working on the whole novel, a way of finding its structure, its plot, its characters — all of which, for a Micro Manager, are contained in the sensibility of a sentence. Once the tone is there, all else follows. You hear interior decorators say the same about a shade of paint.

— Zadie Smith, “That Crafty Feeling” (via

I am giving serious consideration to doing NaNoWriMo this year. I don’t really have time to do it (I never do), but I think that I may do it all the same. Even if I only get the first twenty pages, doing so will help the Micro Manager in me immensely when it comes time to truly put pen to paper.


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