“I like trains. I like their rhythm, and I like the freedom of being suspended between two places, all anxieties of purpose taken care of: for this moment, I know where I am going.”
Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder
Jessica Gross delves into why writers like trains in her article, “Writing the Lake Shore Limited – Trains as writers’ garrets. The Paris Review
“Why do writers find the train such a productive work environment?
Why do writers find the train such a productive work environment? In the wake of Chee’s interview, Evan Smith Rakoff tweeted, “I’ve been on Amtrak a lot lately & love writing while traveling—a set, uninterrupted deadline.” The writer Anne Korkeakivi described train travel as “suspended impregnable time,” combined with “dreamy” forward motion: “like a mantra, it greases the brain.”
Here are some novelists who commuted on trains and wrote their novels
“Brooklyn novelist Peter Brett found his muse and wrote his first novel communing on the F Line,” quoted by Erin Durkin DailyNews. It’s no wonder Brooklyn author Peter Brett’s first novel is a dark, demonic fantasy – he wrote it on the F train.
Brett, 36, tapped out most of “The Warded Man,” which hit U.S. bookshelves last month, on his smartphone on daily trips from the Fort Hamilton Parkway stop near his Kensington home to his job in Times Square.
“I started just trying to take notes. I’d sit on the subway, I’d get a good idea, and I’d jot something down,” said Brett, who works in medical publishing.
“I got very fast at writing with my thumbs. I found myself writing more and more.”
Soon, he was averaging 400 words each morning and evening.
I wrote over 100,000 words on the train” over two years of commutes, he said.
The 400-page novel, which centers on three characters’ struggles in a world where killer demons roam the Earth at night, is the first in a series of at least three books.
The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett
As darkness falls each night, the corelings rise–demons who well up from the ground like hellish steam, taking on fearsome form and substance. Sand demons. Wood demons. Wind demons. Flame demons. And gigantic rock demons, the deadliest of all. They possess supernatural strength and powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity.
Charlie Patton, The Florida Times-Union, quoted, “Writing novels is what Scott Turow always intended to do. When Scott Turow’s “Presumed Innocent” was published in 1987, a decade into his career as an attorney, most people thought of him as a lawyer who wrote.
I was finding it difficult emotionally to be a writer,” Turow said. “It wasn’t so much the lack of success. But I kept asking myself: ‘What kind of life is this, locked up all day in a room with a pencil.’ I felt the need to do something great, but you can’t just will yourself to that as a writer.”
Meanwhile, he remained quietly determined to write a novel.
“I never gave that up,” he said. “The struggle was finding the time to write it.”
What would become “Presumed Innocent,” the story of a prosecuting attorney who finds himself on trial for the murder of a colleague with whom he had an affair? He wrote all on legal pads during Turow’s daily ride on a commuter train.
Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
The novel that launched Turow’s career as one of America’s pre-eminent thriller writers tells the story of Rusty Sabicch, chief deputy prosecutor in a large Midwestern city. With three weeks to go in his boss’ re-election campaign, a member of Rusty’s staff is found murdered; he is charged with finding the killer, until his boss loses and, incredibly, Rusty finds himself accused of the murder.
Readers Read interviewed David Baldacci about his latest novel, the Christmas Train, and confirmed something magic about trains inspiration for writers.
How would you describe the story in The Christmas Train?
It’s the classic travel adventure tale, a runaway screwball comedy on a train, separated by intense moments of personal strife, quiet introspection, romantic mayhem, and puzzling mysteries.
What was the inspiration for The Christmas Train? I took a train across the country, made a lot of notes, observations, overheard priceless dialogue, and, in sum, amassed enormous material that was too good to waste. Plus, I love trains! Every writer should.
The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
In The Christmas Train, disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to L.A. in time for Christmas. Because of a misunderstanding at the airport security, he has to take the train across the country. Tom begins a journey of self-discovery. He experiences rude awakenings, mysterious goings-on and thrilling adventures, screwball escapades, and holiday magic.
Now it’s up to you. Are you ready to write your novel?
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