As the muse requires
Three new books look at the nuts and bolts of the creative process.
Always Apprentices: The Believer Magazine Presents Twenty-two Conversations Between Writers (Believer Books), edited by Vendela Vida, Ross Simonini and Sheila Heti, collects talks between pairs of contemporary writers, from Wells Tower and Barry Hannah to Aleksandar Hemon and Colum McCann.
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work (Knopf) by Mason Currey is a fascinating look at the habits that dozens of creative people have believed help them to do their work, from Ira Gershwin's pajamas to Ayn Rand's amphetamines.
Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors (Perigee) by Celia Blue Johnson focuses on writers' rituals; for example, Eudora Welty really did cut and paste her fiction — with scissors and pins.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor