Monday, 23 January 2012

Word Count Today...

...1,756, which isn't a bad number for an evening's work.

Still working on the novel, and redefining what it's all about. I'm back onto Part 1, narrated by a guy on a plane looking back to when he was thirteen and the fate of his family changed with the arrival of two mysterious women who have "a message" to deliver. And that's it in a nutshell. Part 2 is already part-written, although I've decided the narrator for that section should now be his mother, and the story needs to start earlier. I haven't decided yet what to do with part 3, but we'll see...

I've spent some of today looking at structure and time-shift, and the rest trying to do something about my internet connection. I mentioned before that I pretty much know what happens in the end, and I have the finer points of the beginning down to a t, but somwhere along the middle there's a muddle. And I feel I've finally come up with a solution in the shape of the mother's story.

After having to study Mario Vargas Llosa's Casa Verde when I was eighteen and being - to be frank - a bit confused at the time by his sudden time-leaps and changes in names of characters, I stumbled across his Letters to a Young Novelist, way before I even thought of writing a novel. And I remember being impacted by some of the mechanics behind it, even if I thought when I read it that time-shifting and character-bending were a bit manipulative. But that's the whole point, isn't it? Fiction is, by its very existence, one of the most manipulative forms of writing, whether the author has art for art's sake intentions or otherwise. The very best books I've read have dragged me all around the houses with meandering storylines and nebulous characters, but if you can trust the writer, and if the story's interesting enough and it's told convincingly enough... pah! you're willing to go there with them.

Since my first brush with creative writing technique nearly a decade ago, I've read my way through several books on form and style, including those that affirm it can't really be taught. And the most valuable lesson I've learnt is you have to write your way through some of it, and throw out a lot of work. To my detriment, I'll never be the type of person who storyboards my way through life. If I were, the thing would have been written by now, but it wouldn't be the story I want to write.

Anyways, that's enough from me for now...

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