Published June 14, 2012 by Ms. Nine

Amy, thanks for writing this. I’m reposting it.

Amy McNulty

One of my favorite books, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, has a few jarring moments when the author speaks to the reader outside of the plot of the book. When I first read the book in high school and again in college, I was especially drawn to Fowles’ explanation of how the characters seem to write themselves without his conscious input:

“It is only when our characters and events begin to disobey us that they begin to live.” (Fowles, ch. 13)

He also mentions how the novelist cannot plan the worlds that they create through fiction, and goes as far as to say “a planned world… is a dead world.” Non-writers in the classes thought it silly, but this seemed to perfectly sum up how I write: sit down with a few ideas germinating and just write with no specific plan of where you’re going–more likely than not, the ideas…

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