Hunter S. Thompson Wrote The Great Gatsby?
I know I posted about Hunter S. Thompson’s daily routine just a few weeks ago, and I know he doesn’t have a book on the Time list, and I know I’ve posted a ton about The Great Gatsby in the last few months…but I just couldn’t resist with this one.
I actually think it’s a great idea. You want to know what it’s like to write a great novel? Then write one! I mean, literally pick a great novel and sit down and copy the whole thing. Don’t sell it, of course, or try to publish it, because that would be stupid. But just rewrite the thing.
That’s what Hunter S. Thompson did.
As OMG Facts says (Yes, I’m using OMG Facts as a source. They can’t be any worse than The Telegraph), in the 1950s, Hunter S. Thompson, then working at Time Magazine, used a typewriter to copy down The Great Gatsby, as well as Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, in order to learn about the writing styles of the authors and feel what writing a great novel was like.
He transcribed The Great Gatsby. All of it.
This might be the golf equivalent [warning: golf reference begins now] of Phil Mickelson copying Tiger Woods’ swing for an entire tournament. Seeing how Mickelson is left-handed, that might be somewhat difficult. But you get what I’m saying. Maybe. [golf reference ends.]
Now, if you try and transcribe Infinite Jest, I’ll call you crazy. But Gatsby? That’s a nice and easy length.
So what do you think of this method? Would you ever transcribe an entire classic novel just to “see what it feels like” to write one? Or to learn more about that author’s style?
(Image: Wikimedia Commons)