McCarthy’s works have been termed “experimental” by most critics but he thinks that can be said of most serious writers. “Any serious writer is experimental in that he’s trying to do something new or better.” A serious writer, he adds, sits down and begins to write and develop the story as he goes along. “He doesn’t just sit down and 70,000 or 80,000 words come full blown into his head.” He suggests that anyone who intends to write “read to know what’s been written before—both good and bad.” This point complements the theory of author as experimenter, for, as McCarthy said, “you will see things in other writers you admire and that you think you can do better.”
From a November, 1968 feature on Cormac McCarthy published in The Lexington Herald-Leader. The article is included in “Cormac McCarthy’s Interviews in Tennessee and Kentucky, 1968–1980,” published in The Cormac McCarthy Journal. The last feature in the collection centers on McCarthy’s efforts to adapt William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying into a film.