Friday, November 28, 2008
Ever so 'umble
This year the first draft for NaNo came easily, but I intend to give it a bit more time, and really look at re-writing it, editing, etc.
I can already tell (without looking at, or remembering, what I wrote) that this would be a large effort, and I know one has to be able 'to kill one's darlings' (i.e. be ruthless with those favourite phrases that don't fit, or those characters who never went anywhere, and maybe wandered in from a different book, etc) and I still have relatively little grasp of 'page-turning' qualities.
Pulp Fiction in the UK in the 40s would have 12 chapters of about 3000 words, each ending in a climax, apparently. They were short (40,000 words) and aimed at a non-intellectual crowd (cowboys, sci-fi, detective fiction, romance, etc) and hardly feature in reviews of 'literature' at all. That structure (or formula) has worked fine for Dan Brown, for instance, and he's laughing all the way to the bank, about people like me who thought the books a bit thin.
Anyway, I need the practice. I am still working my way towards something between a memo, essay, autobiography, half-conceived at the back of my brain, and fermenting even as I type. After the fermenting comes the distilling, I guess.
I don't kid myself one life is that important. In fact, I first found my feet when looking at the vertiginous nadir picture by Escher (somewhere in Mexico) when I realised that trying to make myself large enough for the world to notice was ludicrous (Pop Idol, and all those other desperate attempts at 'celebrity') as we all remain ants. That picture didn't make me religious, but I saw the market place from above, in just the same way, and realised I needed a little circle of people around me, each willing to help me eat and survive. That's all I needed, not a stadium full of fans, a world-wide audience, etc. And I went out to become a street performer in the markets of Mexico, and never looked back.