Writer’s Quote Wednesday is organised by Colleen from Silver Threading, and is a wonderful weekly series in which bloggers share the quotes which inspire them. I highly recommend checking them out.
This week my quote comes from E.L. Doctorow, an American author, known for his works of historical fiction.
Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. E. L. Doctorow.
This probably relates to pantsers more than plotters, and it’s certainly something I can relate to. It got me thinking about the journey, about the approaches we take and how we get there.
Jane Graves, a romance author, has talked about how this process works for her. She has a general idea of where the story will take her, but nothing comes to life until the words are on the page. She described it like this – ‘For me, it’s kind of like remembering the words to an old song. If you ask me the words, I can’t tell you. but if the song comes on the radio and I’m in the middle of listening to it, I can tell you what comes next.’
I experience a similar thing. It isn’t until I’m midway through a novel that I begin to realise what’s going to happen – that I can see further down the road.
Similarly, Nora Roberts has said that she never knows where her story is going – she sits down at her computer to find out!
On the flip side, Katherine Anne Porter said ‘If I didn’t know the ending to a story, I wouldn’t begin. I always write my last line, my last paragraph, my last page first.’
I understand this process, and some of my friends work this way. But for me, I like to be surprised – I like to meet new characters and give them the drivers seat for a while.
How about you? Do you have the entire route mapped out? Do you enjoy to take a few detours to see where the road will lead? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for stopping by.