How to Incubate Your Story

To write a story you need five or six days, during which time you must be thinking about it every moment, otherwise you’ll never be able to frame good sentences. Before it reaches the page, every sentence must spend two days in the brain, lying perfectly still and putting on weight. It goes without saying, of course, that I’m too lazy to mind my own rule, but I do recommend it to you young writers, all the more so because I have experienced its beneficent results firsthand and know that the rough drafts of all true artists are a mess of deletions and corrections, marked up from top to bottom in a patchwork of cuts and insertions that are themselves recrossed out and mangled.

—Anton Chekhov in
How to Write Like Chekhov, edited by Piero Brunello and Lena Len?cek.

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