Julie Orringer
Photo © Ryan Harty
From the desk of....

"Oftentimes you might not discover what a story is really trying to do until the third or seventh or tenth draft," Julie Orringer has said. "It's important to realize that the study of fiction and the development of one's writing is a long, long process and cannot be rushed."

To prove that Julie practices what she preaches, we dug into her desk drawers, and discovered that relentless revision is the secret to her literary success. Here, you can take a virtual tour of the notebooks we found, all of which included drafts of stories that are included in her first collection, How to Breathe Underwater

Click on a notebook to get started:


Winter of 1999 into 2000, including the beginning of the story "The Isabel Fish." Plus, catch a glimpse of the special photos Julie keeps in all her notebooks.
Winter of 2000 into 2001 from the Stegner Workshop at Stanford. With more research for "The Isabel Fish," and a professor's comments
She uses it today. View a story from late in the editing process with her Knopf editor.