Somebody read to me from a book about Allingham long ago that she would "polish her prose until it shone over-bright" and then dictate it to her husband to reduce it to a more readable vernacular. I think it was a line from a biography describing an interview with surviving relatives. I've repeated this line many times, and then recently went to track down its source again--and I can't.

What I did find was this line by Allingham herself:

I write every paragraph four times - once to get my meaning down, once to put in anything I have left out, once to take out anything that seems unnecessary, and once to make the whole thing sound as if I had only just thought of it.

Which has the gist of the quote I remember, but doesn't mention dictating to her husband, is in her own voice rather than a third party, and doesn't use the phrase "shone over-bright," which I remember quite clearly.

So, where did that description of her writing process come from?

  • I had have no luck with finding this. Are you sure it was allingham?
    – user72
    Jan 26 '17 at 15:32
  • I've found multiple references to her dictating though, but none referencing polishing.
    – user72
    Jan 26 '17 at 15:39
  • 2
    Are you sure you're not thinking of this quote about Willa Cather - "She would polish her prose until it shone like a jewel"
    – Valorum
    Feb 16 '20 at 12:43

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