In the beginning, I started out producing what I would have described as intensely psychological prose, creating entirely interior worlds, interior dilemmas, interior struggles... It seemed almost writerly. A chapter would involve one person, walking in a park, thinking. Or perhaps only sitting on a park bench. Perhaps this was because the thoughts came to me that way, and I didn't quite have the wit to dress it up more. This, I might call the Insight stage. Irony, hey.
I grew past it, in time. I started having two or even three people in a scene, even interacting sometimes. This, finally, was proper writing. They began to talk to each other, sometimes at length. They were (sort of) demonstrating things, through dialogue at least. No longer did the author clumsily illuminate via his eighteenth century narrator. Sometimes the characters even misunderstood each other, or talked across each other. Or were unreliable in their knowledge. I felt advanced.
But a different kind of pattern emerged. Each chapter, it was politely pointed out to me, is just people talking. Yet again. They were right, naturally. What was actually happening? I counted ten chapters in a single novel that each consisted in some part of two people talking at a checkout (mostly in coffee shops, but also, through a burst of wild imagination, in a supermarket).
Conversation isn't action, of course. Only action is action. Which is not to say a building blows up in every chapter, but at last I am deleting entire chapters that had seemed integral only months ago, and expressing a good thing once instead of a dozen times. It's the same thought that has football managers screaming at their daft winger to stop turning the defender and just bloody cross the ball.
I wonder what the next stage is?
Everything Will Not Be Better Tomorrow -
2 days ago