A mind of their own
Published: September 19, 2002
|[I'm] publicly suspicious of people who know in advance what they are going to write. ....|
I have found writing to be the most amazingly unpredictable exercise man can engage in. Characters are forever developing sinister neurotic tendencies under one's hands. Originally planned minor incidents expand and lengthen until they swallow up what was designed as the main action. Finished stories have a habit of meaning something different from, and frequently better than, the meaning one intended. A short story idea is just as likely to grow and take on overtones and lengthen until one finds himself with a finished novelette, or even a novel, on his desk.
This would seem to put the writer in the same class as a spiritualist medium, possessed by powers out of his control.
—From an article by Wallace Stegner
The Writer, November 1937