I’ve been having some trouble creating lately… so I’ll delete instead! It’s been nearly a year since I reached the end of my novel, so it’s about time I started editing it.
So, I started… and I’m wondering if I’ve really improved that much in the past year, or if I was just blinded by creative juices while writing… because, there’s… so much to fix…
This will be a fun few months rewriting every other paragraph and deleting the endless procession of gerunds.
Wish me luck..
I usually finish a book if I make it past the first chapter or so, but I just couldn’t do it for Madame Bovary.
Something about the way the story is told made it just impossible for me to pay attention or engage with the characters. The imagery and prose was really nice, which kept me hoping ‘maybe it will get going here’ for nearly half the book. But in the end I just kept zoning out so often I had to give up.
I think the problem for me is the story is told from such a ‘zoomed out’ point of view. I felt I was observing all the characters from afar, in a detached kind of way, like they were specimens in a terrarium, instead of living the story through their eyes. Every description of events or scenery surrounding the characters was described in a detached way, from the narrators view, instead of being described through the eyes of the character. It made it very hard to care about anything that was happening.
The last book I gave up on, last year, Swan’s Way by Marcel Proust, also a French classic. Do I hate French novels?
Who knows. I should have quit on it a long time ago though instead of wasting so much time with it.
Now I’ve started ‘As I lay Dying’ and am already feeling much more engaged and interested in what is going on.
That’s right, I’m reading (listening to) the strange, fourth wall breaking story by Italo Calvino… also, I’m recording myself talking about it?
Yes, I’m dipping my feet warily into the frozen, shark laden waters of YOUTUBE. Will strangers want to listen to me ramble in an unfocused, unplanned way about this odd novel? Well I’m going to find out.
I’ve already learned just from the first try that I’m much better at writing than speaking… this will be perhaps a good exercise in public communication!
Here are some thoughts on this novel so far. Recorded in my car, in a parking lot after I listened to a section of the audio book. You’ll see a few more of these, and they will likely start to contain spoilers, but this one doesn’t have any except the barest ones about the structure of the book itself. Okay, here you go:
I’ve spent a bit of time the past few days wondering if anyone will ever want to read my stories, or enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them. Am I the only one who enjoys the sort of thing I want to write? Surely I can’t be… I’m not that special or unique or smart or dumb. There must be people out there who like similar things to what I write.
But what if there wasn’t? What if, somehow, the exact thing I enjoy reading and writing, was not popular with anyone… would I still write it?
Would I change my ‘style’ to please someone–anyone!–or, would I keep on trying to satisfy my own tastes and preferences.
You might ask: what’s the point of writing something no one wants to read?
But, what is the point of writing something that doesn’t say what you want it to?
One thing about audiobooks, is you can’t tell how far into the story you are while listening. A paper book, you can see the thickness of the pages in your hand. A kindle book has that little percentage on the bottom as you turn the pages. But an audiobook, who knows?
I’m still listening to My Name is Red, and I had thought that the narrative was drawing to a crescendo, and that the story would soon be over. Maybe it’s because I’m used to listening to books that are ~10 hours long, and I sort of felt this time approaching, but I actually am just reaching he halfway mark.
It’s a fun feeling to find out that a story you are enjoying is suddenly going to keep going for a lot longer than you thought!
I sent out my finished draft of The Observer to my writing group! Now, to await their ever useful feedback! It took a lot longer than I imagined to send it out, because every time I thought about doing it I would realize some other thing I wanted to change. I still have more things I want to add/change even now, but at some point, someone just needs to read the damn thing…
I wonder if that is a useful way to self edit… by imagining someone, or various specific people reading your work along with you…