Describing a face

How do you do it? I wonder if one can really use words to describe a face accurately. People tend to default to faces they’ve seen before, or shapes they are familiar with.

I am trying something with a character of mine, and have picked a face of a real person to use as my characters face. After I describe her, I’ll see if it is at all similar to what my readers imagined…

Could be interesting to see how close I can get to putting that face in people’s minds!

Women?

Do they exist?

Not, apparently, in the world of ‘the glass bead game.’

There are no women of power or intellect. There are no mothers, sisters, daughters. There are no random women walking down a street. There are no instances of the word ‘she’ in the entire book so far. The only hint that the female sex even exists, is a brief mention that members of the order of Castalia do not take wives.

Yes, I know this was written in the 40’s, but it’s supposed to take place in the 23rd century. And you’d sort of expect an intellectual writer like this to be somewhat forward thinking…

These ‘monks’ or whatever they are, are supposed to be so educated and smart about art and music and mathematics and culture that they play abstract games with these concepts as pieces on the board. But how can you know anything about art or culture or the world when you have no idea about over half of the human population?

 

Book Points

While I’m forcing my way through The Glass Bead Game to make sure I can add a point to my ‘books read this year’ score, I’m really enjoying the Crimson Petal and the White.

I’m two thirds the way through the 900 page monster, and loving every chapter. It calls me back every time I put it down, and keeps me peeking at my phone for a page or three.

Shouldn’t that be the defining mark of a good story? I’m reading two–one of them I care what happens next, the other, I don’t (unless I’m hearing ‘the end’ and can move on. )

Maybe I’ve grown less patient for stories after reading so many. Maybe it’s not aimed at me. Maybe. But I think Glass Bead just is too far up it’s own ass with meaning to care about entertaining the reader, while Crimson Petal  has me laughing and gasping and cringing and turning pages.

Just my opinion…

Something to write about

I’ve been writing a new thing.

I’m not even ten thousand words in, but already it has gripped me, and I feel sure I’ll follow it to the end, wherever that may be.

It’s nice to have something to work on every day again. A direction to turn my wandering mind.

I feel I will progress much faster than I did on the novel I just finished–simply due to the confidence at having done it before.

 

How long will it be? This long

What’s it about? A person and a “person”

What genre is it? Words

 

That’s all I can say for now. But it is something. And it will eventually exist!

Abstruse

I’m still working my way through The Glass Bead Game.

‘Working’ being the operative word.

The author really likes the word ‘abstruse’ which, I had not heard before and took to be a combination of abstract and obtuse. I wasn’t far off.

Abstruse: difficult to understand; obscure

That’s pretty much the book in a nutshell, too.

It’s not that it’s difficult to understand, though, exactly. More that it’s difficult to care about. It is told not as a story, but as a historical account of some important figure told far after the events. On occasion the prose slips from history book style into actual storytelling. Then it is enjoyable and engaging and thoughtful–but those times are islands of interest in a sea of bore.

I am forcing my way through it though, because I’m hoping eventually it will kick into gear and I’ll figure out how the heck the author won a Nobel prize…

But I’m already 1/3 through and so far, it’s just a bunch of abstruse ramblings that I find myself zoning out and forgetting constantly.

Cleaning up

I feel like I’m chipping away garbage words in my writing like plaque scrapped from teeth. Often it’s been there so long you think its a part of you.

I’m making sentences shorter and clearer. Clarity is most important. If the reader can’t understand what you are trying to say, then what’s the point?

How can I make each sentence shorter, and clearer? How can I make each word necessary and impactful? The key is in short, solid sentences where every word has a clear purpose and nothing is wasted.

I feel like I’m improving, and it feels good!

 

Interesting things

True discipline is remembering and recovering–inventing if necessary–what interests you. If it doesn’t interest you how could it possibly interest anyone else? ~ Verlyn Klinkenborg

Writing is so much more engaging when it’s about something the writer is interested in.

Notice I said the writer, not the reader.

If the writer is interested in what they are writing about, that interest and passion will shine through, and the reader will be pulled along.

You could write about the various types of carpets, or the mating habits of north American swallows, and if you are interested in it, I bet I will be too.

Find what you love writing, and write it!