The earlier versions were too much like creating his own basic clay or metal to work with, and he wrote them with a sort of hatred. It always seemed too much, at that stage; a too heavy, brightly coloured mass which he could never hammer out thinly enough and he would struggle with this intractable first stuff for months, finding that what he wrote excluded what he had meant to write, and distorted what he would write next, and feeling all the time a nearly irresistable desire to get up, go away, postpone or abandon the whole business, so that every word was ground out only because he promised himself it was the last for that time . . . .

A. S. Byatt, The Shadow of the Sun

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