Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Have No Idea What Is Going to Happen Next

I have never in my life written a book like this one: a book that turns completely on what is going to happen next and where, even after major brainstorming, I have no idea what is going to happen next. All I can do is just to keep writing and hope to find out. I am not even one step ahead of my characters at this point, I'm one step behind.

There is a deservedly famous quote from E. L. Doctorow about writing a novel: "It's like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

I used to love that quote. Now I'm not sure I do. Because, even in the dark, don't you at least need to have some sense of where you're going? And right now I feel that I'm driving with a busted headlight, or driving in heavy fog.

So I'm resorting to Alice instead, in her conversation with the Cheshire Cat:

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don't much care where," said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you walk," said the Cat.

"- So long as I get somewhere," Alice added.

"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

So far I've walked some 60 pages, in the fog, guided only by my busted headlight. I guess that all I can do at this point is keep on walking.


  1. I know exactly how you feel!!


  2. Even the scary tule fogs of California's San Joaquin Valley lift and burn off eventually. When your fog begins to thin, it will be exciting to see where your novel is going and if it is anywhere near the destination you first intended.