What may be the faintest or the most fleeting

Madison Avenue (Even The Unwritten-upon Page) ©MAIERMOUL
Madison Avenue (Even The Unwritten-upon Page) ©MAIERMOUL

Once you get the diction and the voice right, the rest of the book follows. Each book may have a different career in you, but language precedes, and ultimately controls, the book you set out to write.

A book has its origins in the private excitements of the writer’s mind. They are powerfully felt, even epiphanic responses to what may be the faintest or the most fleeting stimuli… an image, the sound of a voice, a kind of light, a word or phrase, a bar of music, even the unwritten-upon page.

And they come unbidden.

Of course not all, in fact very few, of the writer’s private excitements are resolved as books. Most are forgotten as soon as they occur. But I imagine them a kind of groundsong, as constant and available as the sensation of life itself.

– E. L. Doctorow, From Will-of-the-Wisp to Full-Blown Novel, in The Writing Life, Marie Arana, editor