I suppose what I do in the simplest sense, which is also perhaps the most important sense, is to write clear, interesting sentences. This is where it all starts. One has an idea, and it begins to develop, and I may take notes every so often, write down possible names as characters begin to develop; but it doesn’t really mean much until I put words on paper. Hemingway’s old dictum is still strongly in mind, which is “get black on white”; and that’s what I do. I have an old manual typewriter; I hit the typewriter keys and march the words forward. Words not only have meanings, they even have visual elements. I can see words that connect in a sentence by what they look like, not only by what they mean, and by the sound they have. And that’s what I do, sentence after sentence, day after day. And as I do this, I begin to understand the characters more, I begin to sense the structure of whatever it is I’m writing. Sometimes this takes a long time, other times it’s apparent very soon. And it’s all a mystery. I think of fiction as a mystery, and I wait for answers.