Peter Ho Davies

  • culture November 29, 2021

    Save Your Darlings

    While Flannery O’Connor’s example suggests the value of holding on to and interrogating the kind of anomalous details that don’t do enough work in early drafts, there are also those cherished elements we resist cutting that should probably go.

    Ben Lerner describes one such instance in his autofiction 10:04 concerning a short story of his, “The Golden Vanity,” that appeared in the New Yorker. He relates its conception and shares an extract of an early draft—“the prose I generated first, the kernel of the work”—detailing a plot to fake letters from famous writers that the protagonist hopes to