I think making mistakes and discovering them for yourself is of great value, but to have someone else to point out your mistakes is a shortcut of the process.
And I really do think that the difficulty of research makes it more real to you than punching a thing to find out how many men were killed at this particular action.
Shiloh is a wonderfully dramatic battle. The leader of one side is killed, and the other one is going on to glory, and it was the first great battle. It lasted two days.
My second book, Follow Me Down had some success, got good critical notices, went into a second printing and things like that, but Shiloh was by far the most successful of those first five novels.
Of all the passions of mankind, the love of novelty most rules the mind. In search of this, from realm to realm we roam. Our fleets come loaded with every folly home.
I'm crazy about Grant: his character, his nature, his science in fighting and everything else. But I don't like the idea that he never accepted the blame for anything, always found someone else to blame for any mistake that was ever made, including blaming Prentiss for Shiloh.
I prize the Depression, for instance, because I learned the value of things in the Depression that a way people who don't have to worry about such things never learned to prize it really, I believe.
Getting close to books, and spending time by myself, I was obliged to think about things I would never have thought about if I was busy romping around with a brother and sister.
And I'm a slow writer: five, six hundred words is a good day. That's the reason it took me 20 years to write those million and a half words of the Civil War.
When you grow up in a totally segregated society, where everybody around you believes that segregation is proper, you have a hard time. You can't believe how much it's a part of your thinking.
I think that everything you do helps you to write if you're a writer. Adversity and success both contribute largely to making you what you are. If you don't experience either one of those, you're being deprived of something.
If you want to study writing, read Dickens. That's how to study writing, or Faulkner, or D.H. Lawrence, or John Keats. They can teach you everything you need to know about writing.
I took five years on the first volume, five years on the second volume, and ten years on the third volume.
Most of my inspiration, if that's the word, came from books themselves.
I began the way nearly everybody I ever heard of - I began writing poetry. And I find that to be quite usual with writers, their trying their hand at poetry.
For un-subscribe please check the mail footer.