Quote From A Big Little Life

The significance of the following quote from A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz did not hit me when I first read it back in October. It only caught my eye when I was paging through the book to write yesterday’s review — after I’d spent the day going through my world building notes:

The second novel I wrote after Trixie came to us was From the Corner of His Eye, a massive story, an allegory that had numerous braided themes worked out through the largest cast of characters I had to that time, dared to juggle in one book…

“I don’t work with outlines, character profiles, or even notes. I start a novel with only a premise and a couple of characters who intrigue me. Therefore, I was daunted but also exhilarated by the prospect of showing (the) theme… in dramatic action, which is what a novel must do — show, not tell. The task seemed immense, but after leaping into new territory with [my previous novel], I learned that the more overwhelming a project seemed to be, the more FUN it was as well.”

He goes on to detail how he then came up with a first chapter that made some narrative promises that he had no idea how he could fulfill. Was he setting himself up for failure? Then he added,

“Over the years, when a story took a seemingly illogical or an incomprehensible twist, I learned that my subconscious or maybe my intuition was at work and that I should trust it.”

I think I needed to read that today. Because I’d already had, at the back of my mind, the awareness that all the questions I’d posed myself in my world building notes really didn’t need to be answered. That it wasn’t going to be a matter of me figuring out all the details and getting it all down in the notebook, as some advise, and then writing the story to fit. No, the story and the world in which they occur have always developed together, each affecting the other in ways I could never imagine at the start.

Some of the questions I’ve posed will be answered in the back of my mind, out of my awareness — it’s already happened. I just somehow come to a conclusion about what I want to do.

Some of the questions won’t need to be answered at all because they’ll turn out to have been irrelevant. Right now I have no idea which are which. But it’s nice, comforting even, to realize that my Lord knows and He is guiding me, and it’s not all up to me figuring it out right now.

Bottom line is, though I’m not entirely sure, I’m thinking it might be time to stop with reading through the notes and take up the story again, even if I don’t know exactly where I’m going. Just trust, not my subconscious nor my intuition but that my Lord who lives inside me is at work and will lead me where He wants me to go.




1 thought on “Quote From A Big Little Life

  1. Lavay Byrd

    Dear Ms. Hancock,
    I would really like to thank you for posting this on your blog! If I hadn’t been on my “search for implying my website”, I would not have ran right into this beautiful website and found the blog!

    When I read this yesterday, I was nearly overwhelmed by a realization: I had discovered who I am as a writer– even though I’m still new! While I was currently taking a Creative Writing class, I found myself struggling searching for templates for character sketches and world-building, understanding how I was supposed to fill out “plot point sketches” and “story plan checklist”.

    However, when I read this post, especially how you described how writers should trust God, it was if the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders! I remembered that when I wrote my very first book, “The Miraculous Birth” (you can check it out on my website– which will be redesigned tomorrow), I didn’t use any outlines or templates! I just wrote from my heart, all by the guidance of the Holy Spirit! And I’m still doing that with my second book of the series, “The Light Horse”!

    While some things are beneficial from my class, (and journaling is a great tool!), I realized that it’s really worth it to just WRITE the book, relying on the “creativity of the Holy Spirit”.

    Thank you so much, and God bless!
    A young fellow writer:
    Lavay Byrd

    I recently bought “Light of Eidon” as a free kindle book, and I’m planning to read it on Spring Break. Your books look really cool, and I can’t wait to read it!


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