Mordecai Richler: “I am a compulsive rewriter.”

I first saw this video clip many years ago – I believe I was in junior high at the time.  I knew about Jacob Two-Two of course, but I hadn’t read any of Mordecai Richler’s other works.  I remember being fascinated by the writing room, by his description of the writing life and by the man himself.

I was writing short stories by then, but never dreamed that it could be a career.  Being an author was something someone else did – someone eccentric and brilliant, living in a far-away, exotic land.  (Yes, for the 12-year-old me, Montreal was both far-away and exotic.  Hell, anything beyond the overpass was far-away and exotic.)

Fast-forward thirty years and here I am … writing my first book.  My office is much like Mr. Richler’s – a little smaller and with less paper (doubtless that will change if my daughter ever stops using old chapter drafts for her papier-mâché or latest pastel drawing).  My hair is (sometimes) neater, and I compulsively rewrite every paragraph until it shines.

I used to fret that I was doing this “author thing” wrong … going too slowly, not writing the chapters in sequence, endlessly rewriting … and who knows, maybe I am.  But hey, it worked for Mordecai Richler.


About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women