“I certainly know how it will end. In fact, I build everything toward the last sentence, which is the first thing that occurs to me in writing a book. It’s like throwing a stone into a lake and then swimming and diving to fetch it. You can swim all over the place, you can dive and weave among the reeds, you can do anything you want, but when you finish, and you grasp the stone, the path between it and the place you start is a straight line. This ‘chalk line’ is what I use to keep my intentions honorable, my plot simple, and my themes in reverberation.
“Knowing the beginning and the end means that the middle is where the surprises are, where the characters and the book take on lives of their own, where the work becomes an adventure—but a disciplined adventure, because the ultimate purpose and the origin are known and firmly kept in mind. This fits quite nicely, in an aesthetic sense, with the notion that God does not play dice with the universe.”
—Mark Helprin, The Art of Fiction No. 132