Oh, Roald Dahl (1916-1990), how do I love thee? Let me count the ways/posts. One, two…this is my third post (click for Post 1 and Post 2) dedicated to interview questions and answers found in the back of my copy of The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More .
*Yes, I’ve posted this photo before—it’s Mr. Dahl in his inner sanctum.
Since writing the first two posts, I’ve heard more than one agent mention the difficulty of defining the “voice” of a novel. They say that “voice” is not your protagonist’s tone or dialogue patterns, but rather the word choice and word order and something special about the novel’s delivery that makes it distinctive and gives it AUTHORITY. I never feel safer as a reader than when I’m curled up with Roald Dahl and a cup of hot something (coffee, hot chocolate, soup). I immediately feel as though I'm in the hands of a master storyteller and fall submissive to his role as Narrator.
But enough slobbering and blubbering like the fan I am.
The interview was conducted in 1988 by a family friend. Not too many people were allowed to come into his inner sanctum, especially not people from the media. Dahl himself said, “I have worked all my life in a small hut up in our orchard. It is a quiet private place, and no one has been permitted to pry in there.”
Question from Todd McCormack: What is your work routine?
Answer from Roald Dahl: My work routine is very simple and it’s always been so for the last 45 years. The great thing, of course, is never to work too long at a stretch, because after about two hours you are not at your highest peak of concentration, so you have to stop. Some writers choose certain times to write, others choose other times, and it suits me to start rather late. I start at 10 o’clock and I stop at 12. Always. However well I’m going, I will stay there until 12, even if I’m a bit stuck. You have to keep your bottom on the chair and stick it out. Otherwise, if you start getting in the habit of walking away, you’ll never get it done.
I love that even Roald Dahl talked about the importance of butt-in-chair :)
The next segment with Roald Dahl will include his method of creating interesting characters and his thoughts on the subject of chocolate.
Click HERE to read a GalleyCat article about Roald Dahl’s words being distributed on cereal boxes in the UK!
HERE is a link to his official website.