Not Always on the Page

Author:
Publish date:

Take Joy by Jane Yolen

Writing is not always done on the page.

Image placeholder title

Often I think about a book for years, and that is rarely done at my desk. I think in the shower, on an airplane, in that moment right before sleep claims me. I think rocking a grandchild to sleep, or while listening to music.

Some days, as my husband and I drive along, jazz music blaring from the radio, I go into a kind of daze, hearing the last few pages of a novel or a story as if on a radio broadcast.

I do not write those pages down.

Three reasons, really.

First, that may not be the actual ending of the book. I am someone who does not outline but lets a story grow by setting my characters loose on their own. Often the characters end up somewhere entirely different than I planned.

Second, what sounds good during a drive—lulled by the car and the music and my sense of setting off on an adventure—usually lies flat on the page.

And third, I cannot capture what is in my head that quickly by writing the thing down pen to paper. My hand is simply not that quick. I need to be at the keyboard.

There is a fourth reason more difficult to explain. It has to do with the fleetingness of the dream state. What I concoct is such a state is a kind of open door to the subconscious. Like any dream, it is not literal, more a suggestion of what I might mean. Probably I will have half-a-dozen of these daydream scenario before I actually set one down.

Poetic Forms

Ars Poetica: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at ars poetica and the art of writing poems about poems.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 26

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write about an article of clothing.

Authors Share Tips on Writing Mystery and Thriller Novels That Readers Love

23 Authors Share Tips on Writing Mystery and Thriller Novels That Readers Love

23 authors share tips on writing mystery and thriller novels that readers love, covering topics related to building suspense, inserting humor, crafting incredible villains, and figuring out the time of death.

Jaclyn Goldis: From Personal History to Historical Fiction

Jaclyn Goldis: From Personal History to Historical Fiction

Debut author Jaclyn Goldis explains how her novel When We Were Young was inspired by her real-life grandmothers and how many times she rewrote her first chapter.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Forced Decision

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Forced Decision

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, force a character to make a decision.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 25

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write about a cryptid.

From the Practical to the Mystic: 7 Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

From the Practical to the Mystic: 7 Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

Bestselling author Erika Robuck provides her top 7 tips for creating an engaging historical fiction novel.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 559

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a short poem.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 24

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to create a new myth.