Now about this book, The Moths. How am I to begin it? And what is it to be? I feel no great impulse; no fever; only a great pressure of difficulty. Why write it then? Why write at all? Every morning I write a little sketch to amuse myself. I am not trying to tell a story. Yet perhaps it might be done in that way. A mind thinking. They might be islands of light---islands in the stream that I am trying to convey: life itself going on. The current of the moths flying strongly this way. A lamp & a flower pot in the centre. The flower can always be changing. But there must be more unity between each scene than I can find at present. Autobiography it might be called. How am I to make one lap, or act, between the coming of the moths, more intense than another; if there are only scenes? One must get the sense that this is the beginning; this the middle; that the climax--when she opens the window & the moth comes in. I shall have the two different currents--the moths flying along; the flower upright in the centre; a perpetual crumbling & renewing of the plant. In its leaves she might see things happen. But who is she? I am very anxious that she should have no name. I don't want a Lavinia or a Penelope: I want 'She'. But that becomes arty, Liberty, greenery yallery somehow: symbolic in loose robes. Of course I can make her think backwards & forwards; I can tell stories. But that's not it. Also I shall do away with exact place & time. Anything may be out of the window--a ship--a desert--London.
Virginia Woolf about the novel The Waves, initially called The Moths (diary entry, 9 April 1930)