Storytelling, Slowed Down: On Writing Vertically

The Daily Post

In a recent piece at The Millions, Nick Ripatrazone writes about the gestation of ideas and vertical writing, or the process of slowing down and digging deeper when writing a story. He describes the process of Andre Dubus, who writes an idea in a notebook, then leaves it alone for as long as it needs to ripen. Dubus doesn’t think about a story — “I will kill the story by controlling it,” he says.

But Dubus’ process wasn’t always this way: before, he planned his plots, forced his characters to do things, wrote a lot of words, and went through too many drafts. This is horizontal writing: a focus on the daily sessions, the revisions, and the amassment of pages and words. Ripatrazone talks about the difference between horizontal and vertical writing:

Vertical writing, in contrast, values depth over breadth. Stories are written when they are ready to…

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