I begin my novels knowing what happens. I write endings first. I write last sentences, sometimes last paragraphs first. I write collision course stories. There is always something coming that the reader anticipates. What you can’t know is when and who the casualties and survivors will be, but you see the what. You know what’s coming…
Many of my wrestling friends find it odd that I’m a writer. Just as many of friends in the writing world find it odd that for so many years I was a wrestler and a wrestling coach. But they seem very similar to me. In both cases, you have to be devoted to tireless repetition and small details for many more hours than you will be in competition. You will be with a nameless workout partner, a sparring partner, drilling the same outside single leg dive, inside collar tie, hundreds upon thousands of times. Well, how many times as a writer should you rewrite the same sentence? The same paragraph? The same chapter? If you’re good you never tire of that.
I don’t intend to stop. Dropping dead at my desk sounds pretty good to me.
– John Irving, from interview on NPR