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Writing historical fiction: sometime journal of a New York City novelist

a few thoughts about how I write

A dear friend, the writer Susan Dormady Eisenberg, was asking me about my particular techniques of novel writing and I hadn't thought about it much so decided to post it here.

I never pre-plot. I start with a character or two I can love and a place and time which interests me. In early versions of all my books, I never know how they will end. Eventually when I decide on an ending then I have to figure out how to get the characters there dramatically from the beginning. I change the beginnings a lot. I start writing wherever I see the characters. It is a scene which may end up in the book somewhere or not at all. So it’s all very chaotic. I guess the plot grows out of the characters.

I am so unfit to write mysteries and would never consider writing thrillers! Even if I read a few I can never remember who killed who or plotted against whom. I am only interested in character and relationship and place. I have read all the Dona Leon Venice mysteries with passion and remember the detective and his family and the world of Venice but not one other thing. Only in the one I have read about six times can I remember what caused the conductor’s death. I am reading a mystery so evocatively written and love the place and characters and cannot keep track of who wants to do something nasty to whom! But I so love that world and people!

Back to my scrambled way of writing my new novel which is almost finished!

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