In case it’s not clear, the italics is what Anne Rice wrote, the non-italics is commentary.
hiding under a More Tag to protect the unsuspecting.
WARNING: Actual words penned by Anne Rice below. Read at your own risk. All resultant therapy bills, or regrown eyeballs or synapses are the sole expense of the reader and her/his medical insurance.
I do this because I can
I love Anne Rice, I really do, if for nothing else than for this:
Reproduced here with my running commentary of course.
Messages From the Beach 2003
Where Anne Rice obviously got too much sun.
“August 20th, 2003
Last time I checked, dearie, I didn’t have a dick, so therefore I’m not a “guy” and I imagine that most of your readers and *cough*cult*cough* followers aren’t either, so how about a nice “Hello Everyone” and it’s a comma after that (because you are being informal, otherwise it would be a colon), not a period.
And you call yourself a writer. Humph.
As I am still in Florida, this message will not be on my phone in New Orleans. My stay here is the longest ever, and I am learning what it means to wake up to the spectacle of the blue waters of the gulf and to go to sleep at night beside the same sea.
What the fuck? Chickie, it means you woke up looking at an ocean and fell asleep looking at the same ocean. Millions of people do it every day, and yeah, sure it’s pretty, but a spectacle?
My days here are all study and writing, and in the early evenings, when I am alone, with only my books, and the deck door is wide open to the soft roar of the waves, I often slip into a trance state in which my mind seems to grasp things with uncommon quickness.
Obviously writing wasn’t one of those things.
I feel my thoughts acutely. Theological concepts, religious concepts which have seemed dry to me for years are suddenly palpable and meaningful. I become excited like a small child by the simplest things. To put it more succinctly: things I thought I knew suddenly become revelations.
Have you had any revelations about how to write decently yet? Or maybe that being an arrogant twat is Not a good thing?
I’ve been writing in long drawn out periods,
and when I sleep I sleep deeply remembering no dreams when I awaken. Of course the reason for my retreat here from the green trees of New Orleans — and it is indeed totally treeless here — is my writing and the writing is difficult though the reading is easy.
Got news for you, reading your stuff isn’t easy for us. Personally I’d like you to have a little more difficulty writing so you’d, you know, stop doing it. I mean, don’t you think enough trees have been needlessly sacrificed already?
I want to talk for a moment about the nature of my writing.
Are you going to finally admit you’re a talentless hack? Please…or is that too much to ask?
But first let me ask a question.
And the answer is: Yes, I think your books are overwritten, inconsistent and boring.
Damn, I knew it was too good to be true that you’d actually care what folks thought of your so called “epics”.
And to answer your question…I think the Internet was created as an eternal record of what bullshit idiots put up about their glorious selves for everyone to see. People like that used to stay hidden and we didn’t have to listen to them.
And er…yeah, I’m one of those people, sorta like you. Yay for the Internet!
Do you feel the multiple sites on the Internet — the book sales sites which offer reviews of books, the chat rooms, the reviewing magazines which post their reviews, etc. — do you feel they are creating and shaping a new stream into the Public Record, and do you feel they have given the Public Record new muscularity or vigor?
You asked if you could ask A question, Anne, this is two. You lied to me.
And er…to answer this question because I’m feeling generous…not really.
Of course this question assumes that we already have a Public Record being fed by newspapers and periodicals, and when it comes to books and how they are received, I’m not so sure we have a very accurate public record at all, really.
One of these days you will learn the meaning of consistency. If you’re going to call it “The Public Record” then you must keep calling it that. If you decide halfway through you want to call it “the Public Record” then you should go back up and change the previous differing titles. (And yes “The” versus “the” makes a difference.)
Then again, at least I can give you this, you are consistent about inconsistency.
But let’s suppose that we do, and let’s suppose that the Internet does feed it, and let’s suppose that even this site: AnneRice. com actually feeds it.
You really would like to think you’re that important, would you? Oh wait! Duh me! You DO think you’re that important.
If that is the case — for you and for me, and for that Public Record, I want to make some remarks about my methods of writing.
Dear God, no!
If they clarify things for those who are curious, and if they should help anyone who is writing, very good.
If it helps make one less Anne Rice wannabee NOT write trashy pseudo-porn novels for the mass market then I for one would support you doing this.
On My Method of Writing:
I’m supposing I will have no hair left on my head by the time I finish reading this. I do have a wig standing by.
I have been writing most of my adult life, of course, but very steadily since about 1970.
I mourn the senseless deaths of so many trees…
It was around that time that short stories, and novellas began to pour out of me, pretty much without cease.
And you saw fit to torture the general public with them.
And it was in 1973 that Interview with the Vampire poured out,
Vomited more like.
and thereafter I never stopped creating novels, the novel being the natural form for me.
You do NOT have to brag about it. It’s NOT something YOU should be proud of…tree killer.
My method of writing is to develop the novel sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph and page by page
Isn’t that what most writers do?
with heavy rewriting and reshaping and editing as I go along,
Can you PLEASE warm me when you’re gonna write something so hilarious that I spray Coke all over my monitor for the laughing.
a method thoroughly developed from the beginning,
Obviously not developed well enough.
so that even in the earliest times, while working on an electric typewriter, my office was littered with rejected quarter pages and half pages, and three-quarter length pages until I had the perfected page in order to proceed to the next page.
The trees! The poor trees! *cries*
That might explain why the lumbar industry is still booming in the United States and, of course, why they’re now demanding all of Canada’s lumber too.
You might say I was word processing before word processors.
Trust me, you weren’t.
But the point is, I never worked in drafts. I never sat down and wrote a “first draft” of anything.
Yeah, it shows.
I wrote only through slow and polished and highly edited evolution,
Damn, I told you to WARN ME when you were gonna write something stupendously funny. I’m wasting a lot of Coke on my monitor here.
discarding as I went along
Obviously not discarding enough…like the whole damn thing.
until — by the very end — I had a completed and polished and deeply thought out and, above all, deeply felt and executed manuscript.
You could have fooled me on that one!
One version of that manuscript existed, and nothing more. There was never a sloppy first draft or second draft or third draft.
No, only a sloppy final manuscript.
Now once I was accepted by a publishing house,
With an incredible marketing department.
and I began to make a living from my writing,
Because most of the population are illiterate dorks who wouldn’t know a good story from horseshit smeared between two pages – and anything with “vampire” or “gay” attached is radical and liberal and sexeh!
I did fall into the situation where I would hand in partial manuscripts in order to receive part of an advance payment, but these were not first drafts — they were versions — which usually lacked the ending.
No, Anne they were drafts.
My editor at that time would give me her comments — what characters she responded to most, what puzzled her, what she thought was unclear and so forth — and I would respond to those comments, very often with changes. But what was handed in was never a raw draft. I don’t create such drafts. It’s unthinkable for me. I can’t proceed that way.
You made changes, you “edited” parts and fixed things up as per your editor…sorry, those are drafts.
And though I am devoted to my editor, I always had mixed feelings about this process of receiving her comments and responding to them.
Let me guess, they actually contained better ideas than what you envisioned?
Um, I have to ask…what do you consider drafts to be? An entire piece that is then discarded and written again from scratch? A bunch of notes jotted down and then rewritten to a final novel? The former for you would probably have been a very good idea for most of your novels and the latter is called an outline. I shake my head at your presumptuousness.
After the publication of the The Queen of the Damned, I requested of my editor that she not give me anymore comments.
o.O Why would you do something so utterly stupid as that? Your editor actually made your earlier novels readable…not great…not even good, but readable (except for “The Mummy”. I swear your editor was either on crack or decided to play a cruel joke on you and tell you it was fine the way it was and proceeded to kill off more trees in getting it published and have authors everywhere point at you and laugh behind your back – oh, by the way, a word of advice. NEVER EVER piss off your editor).
I resolved to hand in the manuscripts when they were finished. And asked that she accept them as they were. She was very reluctant, feeling that her input had value, but she agreed to my wishes.
See my earlier note about NEVER EVER pissing off your editor.
I asked this due to my highly critical relationship with my work and my intense evolutionary work on every sentence in the work, my feeling for the rhythm of the phrase and the unfolding of the plot and the character development.
ARGH! I’m wasting so much Coke!
I felt that I could not bring to perfection what I saw unless I did it alone.
And it really does show.
In othe words, what I had to offer had to be offered in isolation. So all novels published after The Queen of the Damned were written by me in this pure fashion, my editor thereafter functioning as my mentor and guardian.
And having the easiest job in the publishing industry…never mind that it really, really shows that you have no editing done on your…er…”trees died for this?” authorial offerings.
As always, I continued to work with immense focus,
On what? Certainly not your writing!
critically editing and polishing the words, only proceeding in the work until I felt that the most had been exacted from each element, editing and re-editing the words with enormous scrutiny and exactitude. Naturally, when I had switched from typewriter to computer around 1983 or so, I took to the computer very well, and this aided me in moving back and forth through the chapters, perfecting them, bringing them closer and closer to my ideal of what they could be, and sharpening and honing them into what I wanted.
Obviously quality writing wasn’t one of those things.
But never were drafts of anything produced. My methods would never allowed for anything so sloppy to have been done.
I love how you’ve just probably insulted authors that actually CAN write and write riveting, exciting and well executed works of literature…which of course you cannot even begin to hold a candle to.
I’m too compulsive for that method. I understand why it might work for another person, but I must control the manuscript much more tightly.
There are medications you can take for that. They’ve come a long way in treating obsessive/compulsive disorder.
By the time I reach the last paragraph of a book, everything else is in line behind it, and giving birth to that last paragraph.
Of course, things like consistency, keeping it simple and logic have no part in this.
I go back and back over that last paragraph countless times, getting up out of bed in the middle of the night to go in and redo that last paragraph,
Please see my note about treatment for OCD. You need help.
but all the rest is polished and edited right down to the last. And then the completed version goes off to the publisher.
I feel sorry for these people. And the trees. Let’s not forget the trees.
That is my method.
World take note, The Great And Exulted Anne Rice Has Spoken!
Along the way, I do save on the hard drive discarded versions and fragments of chapters as I repolish and rework. If I take a stab at chapter 2, and wake up knowing I have to redo all of that before I can go on, I rename that “try2, and redo it totally as 2 and may do that seven times before I’m satisfied. I edit myself relentlessly.
Again, those are called “drafts”. I’m really confused as to what you consider the difference between a version and a draft to be.
That is essentially my working method. By the time the novel is complete, I have a love hate relationship with every word of it. That’s why I can’t bear for anyone to come in and touch it.
Because they might actually have something constructive to tell you that could possibly make the story better? No, you are above all that, aren’t you? The peons of the publishing industry…feh, what do they know? They know nothing of the craft of the Artiste that is vous!
I wait excitedly for my editor to tell me how she responds to it.
Probably by laughing her ass off after reading such ridiculous prose, but she’d never tell you that, would she?
But she respects it as my finished work. Her remarks always teach me things about myself, the phases of my writing, the directions I am taking, etc. She has had an enormous influence over me all these years. I can’t imagine life without her.
Funny you say that, since you totally disregard her input on your rather less than humble works of drivel.
That, for the record, is my method.
Praise be to God!
Why am I telling you? Perhaps to assure you — those of you who might want to know — that the writing you are reading is quite deliberate,
You mean you deliberately write that badly? Boy, now you’re insulting the intelligence of your readers. Bad Anne, no cookie.
that it is informed and it is conscious, as well as being the result of intuition.
If that’s the case, I think there are a lot of folks who should demand their money back right now!
It is the result of all that I am — my education, my mystic sensibilities, and the student in me. It is poured out fearlessly, and then edited, and re-edited, and subjected to merciless scrutiny. It represents, and always has, my finest efforts.
That’s IT? That’s the best you can do? *pities*
Because I am viewed in some circles as a “popular writer,” some of my most experimental work is some times dismissed with amazing laziness and derision.
That’s because it IS. Folks call ’em as they see ’em, honey. Learn to deal.
To experiment with the novel form has always been important to me. “Breaking the Frame” was one of the main themes in 20th century literature as many of you well know.
Yes, but true experiments can fail and a good writer and an insightful one would realise that and grow…not stagnate into a pool of overused purple prose…kinda like you’ve done.
I greatly respected Thornton Wilder for his revolutionary play Our Town, which did this in theater, and other works which did this are legion.
Oh please, you do not even come close to being in league with the likes of Wilder – or any other good writer for that matter..
That most of my readers love this — Lestat’s shattering the illusion of the novel — makes me happy.
What? Did I miss something? All I got out of Lestat was he was a pompous, idiotic, self-absorbed git with cool hair, a guitar, a serious Oedipus Complex and a leather outift.
In Blood Canticle, you will find some of my most experimental writing — my consciously breaking and stretching the frame of the novel with Lestat’s immediate concerns, and also attempts to approximate his trance vision of the world when he hunts — a sort of altered state in which the world becomes hallucination.
Word of advice: Lay off the crack while writing. Seriously. It can only help you come to realise what a crappy character Lestat really is.
For me these componants make the novel exceptional.
For you maybe, but for the rest of us…poor trees. *cries for the trees*
They offer dimensions of the character that are essential to his heroic nature.
Lestat heroic? Are we talking about the same character here? A hero? Well, I guess if you go with “the hero is the main protagonist in the book” but “heroic nature”? Aahahahahahahahahaha…Anne, you’re so funny!
In other words, they have to be there because he is what he is.
Yup, a pompous, idiotic, self-absorbed git with cool hair, a guitar, a serious Oedipus Complex and a leather outfit.
Be assured, before the criticism slobs descend, that they are deliberate — that whether they work for you or not, they are consummately intentional and thoughtfully executed.
You really think so highly of yourself and your…ah…talent that you are above criticism. The critics are so beneath you that they are “slobs”? Sort of like those “drafts” you seem to abhor (and could really use a few of).
Before I close, let me add one more note on the evolution of each novel with the publisher. After my editor receives each novel and approves of it, she passes it on to the “copy editor.” The job of this person is to proof read the novel for spelling and dropped words and grammar. This person marks any kind of mistake of that sort, also some times catching simple mistakes in agreement — say a character is six feet tall on one page, and 100 pages later, he is mentioned as shorter — and sends the manuscript, through my editor, back to me. I then go over the whole manuscript again with a pencil and pen, reviewing all of the “copy editor’s corrections.” At that time, I not only approve the spelling corrrections, which I often need, and catch cropped words, but I also make corrections of my own. My editing isn’t heavy at this point, but it is often very meaningful. I may even add lines or even paragraphs in ink. I read every single solitary word. I re-edit, exhaustively. Then and only then, do I return the manuscript.
Obviously either your publisher needs to get better copy editors or you need to come off your high horse and consider that these people are trying to HELP you, not make you the laughing stock of popular fiction. I mean, really, they have their best interests at heart too. Because you sell, THEY get a paycheque every two weeks.
After that, when the first print run comes, I don’t have very much to do. I do read every word again, but thanks to the very thorough work that has gone on before, the degree of perfecting that has been achieved, I find I don’t have very many things to amend.
And STILL it’s not perfect. My, my Anne, you do think highly of yourself, don’t you. Excuse me while I go vomit.
That’s the process.
And as always, you provided us with Too Much Information.
There are no drafts.
There is intensive editing.
And it’s STILL not enough.
And that’s the way it is.
So there, nyah!
You are not presented with a single sentence that has not been read and re-read, and read again and again.
Unfortunately, this says a lot about your actual education, your mystic sensibilities, and the student in you. Trust me, it ain’t good.
You are not presented with anything that is not the culmation of what ever I may possess in the way of talent and will.
Which ain’t much.
There you have it. And I thank you for bearing with me. I think this is enough for now.
Praise be to God for He is merciful!
A novel yet unwritten is calling to me.
No…resist the urge. Please…spare us. I beg of you! If there really is a God, He will hear my pleas….
Keep sending me your messages.
Unless they are in any way critical of your work because then they’re just some slob who Doesn’t Get Your Genius.
I receive transcripts of your phone messages here from New Orleans.
Which are probably better written than your novels.
I send you my love.
The Exulted One.
August 20, 2003
This has been Your Public Record Announcement.
*is thankful it’s over, the healing can begin*