I love talking about writing. I love thinking about how stories are put together, about books. I love analyzing my process, and learning of others'. Trying new ones on for size.
But still, I inwardly laugh whenever I talk about how I write, because it changes. Constantly. And yet it stays the same. When it comes down to it, I have no idea. It's like trying to determine the method of a tornado: it's chaotic. I convince myself it's not, but it must be. Or maybe there's some disconnect, where we are not allowed to know our own process, so we don't keep duplicating the same results?
I have no idea.
Neil Gaiman said it best:
Writers are honestly the last people that you should listen to when you actually ask important questions about the process of having written, because we misremember. We half remember things; we go, "I think it must have occurred like this," and we think of things.
There are interviews in which I say that I tried writing Wolves in the Walls at least twice, and it wasn't until I had the idea of the line "when the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over," it suddenly clicked into place, and I had the voice, and I had the whole thing. I believed that was true when I said it.
Except when we were moving stuff up to the library I brought up lots of notebooks with things handwritten there. And one of the things I found there was either the third or the second version of Wolves in the Walls. They weren't really drafts, in the sense that when you've written something that's two thousand words long, and you don't get it right, it's easier to put it away and do it again six months later, or whatever.
But what was interesting was that, even though it didn't quite work, and it wasn't deep enough, that phrase is actually in it. So, I actually got it wrong.
And I keep forgetting:
Today I am grateful for those writers who write the stories that may not be big and literary, but can find and lovingly touch that little, vulnerable spot in your heart, the place where your deepest, most private wishes live side-by-side with your biggest, most private fears.