a nondescript anachronism… all random
In the movie, “Six Degrees of Separation”, Flan (Donald Sutherland) tells his wife, Ouisa, (Stockard Channing) “Did you know; the painter, Cezanne, would leave blank spaces on his canvas when he couldn’t account for the brush strokes, or the color.”
Stockard Channing replies, “How much of your life can you account for? My life is a collage of unaccounted for brush strokes; I am all random.”
It’s that scene in a novel where a reader’s mood can quickly change from relaxed to agitated. It’s the point where the author inadvertently crosses a fine line, risking the loss of the reader’s attention. This can open the possibility of the book being put aside, never to be visited by that reader again. The line may be crossed when the writer decides to fill in background details without taking the time to thoroughly research them.
Integrating the characters’ stories may require hours of research. Obviously, a story set in Kansas would not have a scene with the characters planning a trip through one of its deserts. Again…obvious. When writing a novel, it’s important to hit the books, and the internet, to gather valid, factual and historical data in an effort to present the work of fiction as accurately and true-to-life as possible.
The slip may not always be as easily identified. This can happen when using colloquialisms and slang. A couple of the most widely known regional differences are: in the Midwest, a carbonated beverage is “pop”, while this is “soda” when you’re in one of the southern states. In northern states you might pack your lunch, or groceries in a “bag,” while in the south, they would definitely be in a “sack.” Make certain the word, or term you’re using is one that’s used in the region of the novel’s setting. Let’s face it, we all have a certain sense of pride for the area we live in and would definitely notice if the wrong term is used. Not only would most readers notice, but many would be annoyed at the misuse. Continue reading
Speaking with a friend, and fellow writer, I found that I was not the only one with several (five, actually) “novels-in-progress” which pretty much are a result of four, successful, NaNoWriMo challenges. One of them is, of course, of my own prompting when first I decided to write a novel. From this conversation I realized that we are, most likely, two out of thousands who’ve found themselves in this same situation. As we begin another new year we realize we have now been afforded another opportunity to bring at least one, possibly more, of these products of our imaginations to their intended conclusion, submission, and hopefully…publication. Continue reading
Stop…don’t delete those words from your novel.
Whether it’s the first, rough draft of your novel, or your final edit, it’s inevitable that you, or your editor, may want to remove sentences, or scenes. That’s okay. Most likely, it’s necessary. However, whatever you do…don’t delete them. Don’t banish them to that cyberspace eternity, leaving them to dissolve and disappear into some unknown infinity…alone and abandoned.
Instead, protect them and save them in a separate file, reserving them for another time. It’s been helpful for me to follow this practice. I’ve found I have gone back to that file often, always grateful I’d been able to rescue these previously rejected words and place them in their new place, in a new story. Continue reading
A literary fiction genre, with a retrospective narrative voice is what I’d determined the novel I’m writing to be, and still do. Except I’ve recently had some reservations on a definitive genre and probably will just write it and let my
readers determine what it should be considered once it’s published. This is the best thing for me to do, I’m sure, after reading way too many articles on “genre” and coming to the conclusion to not spend any more time trying to decide where my novel will stand in this arena.
If walls could talk
Random wisps of wistful words wafting through, adhering to, the watchful walls. Stories without end, set upon the creaking stage. Refurbished and renewed, yet remaining still a part of times long past, where countless thousands have entered with great expectation and left, at times, with great disappointment, but always with a learned experience of the art of illusion, an escape from the reality of the world into a realm of pretense.
Not so different, though, from the false selves still to be encountered day-to-day.