1/6/13

Confessions of a Young Novelist by Umberto Eco


What do I do during the years of literary pregnancy? I collect documents; I visit places and draw maps; I note the layouts of buildings . . . and I sketch the faces of characters. . . . I spend those preparatory years in a sort of enchanted castle. . . . I give the impression of doing a lot of different things, but I am always focused on capturing ideas, images, words for my story. . . . After the publication of The Name of the Rose, the first movie director who proposed making a film out of it was Marco Ferreri. He told me, "Your book seems conceived expressly for a movie script, since the dialogues are just the right length." At first, I did not understand why. Then I remembered that before I'd begun writing, I had drawn hundreds of labyrinths and plans of abbeys, so that I knew how long it would take two characters to go from one place to another, conversing as they went. Thus, the layout of my fictional world dictated the length of the dialogues.