Ian Rankin reacts to hilarious no-nonsense writing advice from Muriel Spark
A video clip showing late author Muriel Spark explaining her uncomplicated writing process has gone viral on social media.
Bruntsfield-born Spark shot to fame in 1957 with the publication of her first novel, The Comforters, but is best-known for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961), set in Edinburgh.
In the video, Ms Spark sits at her writing desk and tells an off-screen interviewer: “I begin at the beginning. I write the title then I write my name.
“Then I turn over and I write the title of the book, I write ‘Chapter One’ and then I write on.”
Ms Spark, who died in 2006 in Florence, Tuscany, continued: “I leave a space so I can make alterations as I go along but I don’t revise it afterwards.
“Then it goes to the typist and she types it and I revise that.
“And that’s the book. That’s finished.”
The clip has garnered more than 10,000 views on Twitter alone.
Ian Rankin, who has cited Ms Sparks as his literary heroine, was asked by one social media user whether he took inspiration from her no-nonsense writing process.
The Fife-born Rebus author, who lives in Edinburgh, replied: “I do a few more drafts than Muriel though!”
Dean Atta, Scottish author of The Black Flamingo (2019) joked: “Why do I need an editor and a copyeditor if it’s this easy? Who knew, all I needed was a typist!”
Writer and journalist Esther Webber described the clip as: “the Bake-Off technical challenge equivalent of writing advice.”