The Saturday Writing Quote — on beginnings

It’s long puzzled me why, no matter how many drafts I write of a novel or story, I always end up spilling more ink on the beginnings than any other section, even as I near the end of the writing process. American novelist and social activist Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1878-1959) may have identified the reason.

“All your first drafts will need revision, but the middle and end of them may not need a great deal. You had steam up when you wrote them; you were commencing to feel what you wanted to say. But watch your beginning. That was written when arm and brain were cold.”

Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Theme Writing (1935), in Bridges: Readings for Writers 235, 237 (Donna Gorrell ed., 1985). (Quote found by Bryan Garner, in his blog, Garner’s Modern American Usage.)