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The Magic of Writing

October 5, 2012

Continuing to work on the new novel, averaging 700 words a day. (Time for a drink).

As I go along and create characters, build the story, develop the theme, the magic of writing never ceases to amaze me. Today, for example, I approached the keyboard with fear and and doubt. How will the characters react to the murder of a young Polish immigrant they’ve befriended and taken into the family business? When is it time to bring in the character of Joey Baloney, the private investigator from my novel “The Champagne Ladies”?

Just as before with that book, I find that inventing as you go along is the best route. I never diagram the plot or character relationships. I hate to diagram. But I take copious notes as I write so that I know what to include later as the story progresses. Here’s an example, verbatim: “Will Marek be forced to commit suicide?”

Maybe he will. I don’t know now but will as the characters begin to evolve. I guide myself by the folowing, which is pretty good advice. It’s from an interview years ago, by reporter Charles Leroux, with Ward Just in the Chicago Tribune, when Just was touring to promote his novel “Echo House.” (Fantastic book, by the way).

You write a sentence and the game is afoot, and something at the heart of that sentence leads you to the next sentence and the next. Usually, by about halfway through the book, the repertory company is in place. Then the task is to get their relationships straight each to the other so that they can take over some of the work. A book never writes itself, but, if you set it up properly, it becomes a hell of a lot easier.


  1. I am still learning to just let go as I write through the first draft of my novel. It comforts me to know that I am not the only person who faces a session with fear and intimidation. I just need to trust in myself because when I do let go, I get the outcome you have described. One sentance leads to another, which forms another idea and builds on the story. This is my first novel and sometimes it feels like it’s too big but I will keep going. Thank you for your article; I found it both uplifting and encouraging.

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