Updated: Feb 26, 2019
Of all the arts and professions a sane person could choose, why some diehard masochists opt for fiction writing is beyond my comprehension. Could be something in the water. I’ve run into very few famous authors hailing from the Gobi or the Atacama Deserts.
But a bad habit is hard to break. Like post nasal drip, just when you think you’ve crumpled your last hanky, another flood gushes forth. The seed of creation, the germ of a new cast of characters starts whispering in your ear: get to the keyboard, listen to me, I’ve got an awesome story for you. So that’s what you do. As fast as you can before the voices fade.
An agent told me that there are basically two types of writers: constructive and creative. The first type scopes everything out like building a house. First lay down the foundation, choose the materials, manipulate the plan to produce a project that goes up without any change orders. Not my fortune to be so organized. I’m the second type. No plan just a title that springs to mind usually right in the middle of something far more important – like nodding off in the elevator, straining penne pasta or (gasp) doing my real job. Once the “title seed” sprouts, the voices start, then for the next couple weeks it’s just a whole lot of furious typing. The whole story’s been written inside my head, and I’m just trying to keep up with the narrative as it tumbles out. So it’s like I’m reading a new novel written by somebody else. This whole process can be compared to a form of mental disturbance I’m sure some PhD would like to charge me a fortune to name. But since it’s worked out pretty well for so long, I like to think of it as just a writer’s quirky imagination at work. So whatever your literary mojo, just do your thing and don’t waste time trying to figure it all out. Introspection is not really an asset for a novelist. Creation is a marvelous thing no matter what kind of package it comes in.