Knowing How

KFrom my notes two years ago:

Writing a short paragraph is like taking a family photograph. After assessing composition and deciding on exposure, the blink of the camera’s eye generates electronic memories. Fifteen minutes at the keyboard generates words that are eloquent and beautiful,  short and concise, and finished in one sitting.

Writing a novel, however, is like painting the Sistine Chapel. Create the first wonderful paragraph, and then repeat for 300 pages while telling a story and entrancing the reader. Unlike the quick photo or hasty half page, the novel’s plot must be crafted with passion . It is not enough to know the beginning, middle, and end. The writer must know everything.


Well, I can honestly say, my nervous musings turned out to be true. Hard, troubling, fun, frustrating and exciting – the descriptions of my new obsession were correct. But, I breathed life into my novel and, lo and behold, it staggered up as if from a prehistoric swamp, a living thing filled with drama and humor. I’m amazed that I want to do it again! Now that is a miracle. That is knowing how.

What is your before and after writing experience?

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