Thursday, June 20, 2013

5 Favorite Quotes: The Writing Process From Beginning to End

 by Sara Rosett 

“How do you write a book?”

It's a question I’ve been asked a lot, and I still don't have a good answer. 

Photo credit: clarita from

Instead of going with my usual vague response about ideas germinating into plot twists, character inspiration, and daily word counts, I thought I’d borrow words from other writers to explain my process. 

How I write in five easy steps:   

1. “The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” ― Agatha Christie

I’m always thinking about writing, stories, plots, characters, descriptions, etc. I cull ideas from news reports, snatches of overheard conversations, and other weird places like Pinterest, Facebook, and even my hair stylist (one of the best places to get story ideas, actually). Those ideas are always churning and activities like housework and long walks are great for sorting them out.

2. “Just get it down on paper, and then we’ll see what to do with it.” ― Maxwell Perkins

I literally would not be a published writer without this quote. I read it years ago when everything I had written was only a few chapters. Nothing was ever good enough:  the first line, the first paragraph, the first chapter. I got bogged down in revisions and never moved on to write the rest of the story.

When I read this quote I thought, well, if that’s the kind of advice he gave to his authors, which included Fitzgerald and Hemingway, then it was good enough for me. I decided I’d get my ideas down on paper first—the whole book—then revise.

3. “Writing is like driving at night. You can see only as far as the headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” ― E.L. Doctorow
Photo credit: d3designs from

I generally have a firm grasp of how the story begins and how it ends. I write mystery and suspense, so I know whodunit, how they did it, who the suspects are, and how everything wraps up, but that middle part is always a tad fuzzy. I’ve found once I start writing the details and plot twists come into focus as I write. 

For me, I have to get into the story to know what must happen next. Some writers know their whole book in great detail from beginning to end before they put even a word on paper. My little brain can’t hold all that info at once. I have to ease into it.

4. “Books aren't written - they're rewritten.” ― Michael Crichton

Ah, revision. I actually enjoy revising. It’s always a relief to me to get the first draft down then I can go back and clean it up. See #2 above.

5. “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” ― Mark Twain

That quote pretty much sums up the final stage of writing, doesn’t it? When I do the final edit, the line edit, I agonize over the absolute best word, wrestling with nuance and sentence flow. And, don’t even get me started on commas….   

And one more quote for fun:

Bonus Quote: “Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” ― Groucho Marx

What are some of your favorite writing quotes?

Sara is currently immersed in #5 (line edits) for DECEPTIVE, the third book in the ON THE RUN series, which will be out in July. 
 The first two books in the series, Elusive and Secretive are available now. Elusive is currently free at Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords. 

 Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books, "satisfying," "well-executed," and "sparkling."

Sara loves all things bookish, considers dark chocolate a daily requirement, and is on a quest for the best bruschetta. Connect with her at You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or Goodreads.



  1. I love these quotes, Sara! I'm scheduled to speak to a writer's group and I'd love to share this, if you don't mind.

  2. Oh, Sara, I love this! I need to remember all of these quotes, especially #2!!

  3. Thanks, Brenda! I think #2 is my top quote. It really did change the way I thought about writing.

  4. Replies
    1. Have you seen the pins with this quote on Pinterest? That's were I first read it. :)

  5. These are great!!! I'll have to post them near my computer. :)

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