August 12, 2011


A friend recently wondered if I plotted my writing before I sat down to work. In other words, he was asking, “Do you know where you’re going before you get there?”  I admit when I taught expository writing, I required students to write from an outline because essay is a form of argument.  I requires logical order.

When it comes to fiction, however, I never work from an outline. I’ve been warned by others about this practice. As someone explained, it would be awful write a 300 page novel and not know how to end it. I confess, I once wrote a children’s story which is still unfinished. The ending depends on a gimmick I can’t resolve – rather like searching for a word that rhymes with “orange.”  Nonetheless the experience didn’t dissuade me. I write without a flight plan and except for that one occasion, I’ve always landed the plane. 

I take the risk because I trust the brain as a miraculous instrument. Savants, who are unable to tie their shoe laces, can do wondrous mathematical calculations in their heads or create music akin to that of the great composers, for example.  Schizophrenics have been known to paint masterpieces until they are put on medication. Returned to normal, their artistic vision is lost. And there are even those who see words as colors, or music, or taste. 

(Yahoo Images)

When I write, I attempt to tap into the unfettered mind and firmly believe that if I trust that force, a shape, a plot and even a revelation, perhaps, will appear.  Without making an argument for mystical worlds, I believe there are mystical thoughts within us which the artist can discover.  Where those thoughts come from, I don’t know. But revelation is in us all. And why not? We are born of stardust.