Journal of a novel: Aug. 30, 2016. Intent

In a series of posts, I’ll share both Steinbeck’s Journal of a Novel and what I learn from it, and I’ll show you what the writing life is like for me.

Although John Steinbeck didn’t work on his novel on March 28, he gave it a lot of thought. In his Journal of  Novel entry on that day, addition to ruminating about the character of Cathy Ames, he was a little in awe of his own ambition with regard to his work-in-progress:

My god this can be a good book if I can only write it as I can hear it in my mind.

I’ve been there. It all does seem so clear, so vivid, in my mind’s eye, but transmitting that in writing so that you can see exactly what I see is a challenge. No matter how carefully I choose my words, I may still fail, because the same word has different meanings for different people.

That’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

Something else that happens that’s delightful and at the same time scary is when readers find something in my work that I didn’t put there. And I’m not going to say the readers are wrong, that it’s not there. Often, it is there. I didn’t intend it, I didn’t see it, but by golly, they’re right. How’d that get there? How’d I do that?

It’s scary because we writers like to think that we’re in control of our writing. We try so hard to be deliberate, not to mention artful, about how we string words together. To find out that something’s going on independent of us, well, as Steinbeck said, if I can only write it as I can hear it in my mind …

About Dee

"What if?" Those two words all too easily send Devorah Fox spinning into flights of fancy. Best-selling author of “The Redoubt,” voted one of 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading 2016, and three other books in The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam epic historical fantasy series. She also co-authored the contemporary thriller, Naked Came the Sharks, with Jed Donellie. She contributed to Masters of Time: a SciFi/Fantasy Time Travel Anthology and has several Short Reads to her name, including Murder by the Book, A Mystery Mini. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she now lives in The Barefoot Palace on the Texas Gulf Coast with rescued tabby cats ... and a dragon named Inky. Visit the “Dee-Scoveries” blog at
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