Yesterday, I wrote so many words and so fast my keyboard almost caught fire. My brain shot an unstoppable flow of words down my nerves to my fingers and ordered them to pound away. And while I was pounding away, I thought about how that works, inside my brain? How does my brain tell my fingers what to do, which key to tap, which word to form, what scene to narrate?


Readers often tell me that my writing is very visual. Very sensory too. In almost all reviews of my Dutch middle grade adventure Boreas and the Seven Seas, for instance, critics touch upon the fact that the narrative provokes the feeling that the wind actually blows through the reader’s hair, that the reader can almost literally feel the boat rock on the waves. One critic even warns readers for seasickness.

In an earlier book review of Dutch middle grade adventure The Sun Spirit, the critic wrote that it’s as if the reader walks side by side with the protagonist through a scorching desert.


If readers perceive my work as visual and sense-experiences, surely I must see those images in my brain first, as if the story is played inside my head like a film, before I write them down.

I am very visual and sense oriented. I draw and paint. I sculpt in clay. And yet, I don’t ‘see’ a story in my head. I don’t ‘see’ the pictures, the film. I hear words, like an inner voice talking to me, telling me what to write. A linguistic and not a visual narrative. As soon as whatever it is inside my head that tells me the story, narrated scene by scene, I dig into my memory and draw on personal experiences to add visual and sensory details, to add emotion.

I don’t perceive those processes – the narration and the digging up of memories – as two separate actions. It’s an amalgamated process, a synthesis, like two subterranean sources forming and feeding one river.


Does that make sense? It might not. I don’t know.


Anyway, Scrivener told me I wrote 5,635 words before the river dried up yesterday, twice the session target I had set myself. All I know is that I wrote six scenes and that whatever amalgamates all this into a story accessed some of my darkest memories to pull up the visual and sensory details to add to those scenes.

As I slide into the booth – it almost feels like my booth – at Café Francisco, I’m curious as to what the river will bring me today.