First Sentences, Then Paragraphs

If someone were to ask me what the secret of my writing is, I would say, first I write sentences, then I write paragraphs. I view nonfiction as an art form, which too many U.S. authors treat carelessly. My books take a very long time to write precisely because of my concern with the clarity and flow of my prose. I do an enormous amount of preparation for each chapter in any of my books – voluminous notes, followed by notes upon those notes and so on. Construction of the argument takes forever, but once it is in place, that’s it. In my entire career, I have probably changed a paragraph position not more than three or four times. Once a chapter is written, I go over and over it again innumerable times, tweaking the wording and adding color and momentum.

Camille Paglia

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