How many times would you say you have to write a paragraph over to reach this standard?
Well, those that need reworking I do as long as I can. I mean, I've revised six times, seven times, thirteen times. But there's a line between revision and fretting, just working it to death. It is important to know when you are fretting it; when you are fretting it because it is not working, it needs to be scrapped.
Toni Morrison: The Art of Fiction No. 134, Interviewed by Elissa Schappell, with additional material from Claudia Brodsky Lacour in Women at Work: Interviews from the Paris Review