Sunday, 30 September 2012
JK Rowling has been interviewed a few times on the publication of her first adult novel. In one session she was asked whether she was nervous about its reception. She replied to the effect that she was as thin-skinned as any other writer and she could be insecure and defensive. It was comforting to know that even the great writers of our age experience these doubts before their work is exposed to readers.
Thursday, 27 September 2012
My son is a musician, he adds music to any situation he can, by tapping, singing or making indescribable rhythmic sounds. Music is in his being, even when he is not listening to it or is playing his guitar. I have words, sentences and paragraphs in my head a lot of the time. I suppose this is writer's schizophrenia. Today whilst confined to a recovery position from the common cold I saw one writer on the TV who had coincidentally been diagnosed with the mental condition. He mentioned that a writer should do more than raise the issues of, say, the challenges of the human condition and morality, but they should change the reader and make them see things differently. I do not know if our work will do that, but it definitely exposes readers to the words and concepts taken from my restless and often excited mind, recording the era of a civilisation that we believe has not previously been written in such accurate and comprehensive detail.
In Australian legendary history there is a female character who helped 'pioneer' the country with European settlement. She is a short stout woman clad in a billowing but practical dress and wielding a small (or larger axe) with which she splits kindling for the kitchen stove where she cooks feather light scones and legs of roast lamb. She uses the axe to chop the heavier wood if her husband is away droving or at a far flung part of the station, or huge grazing property. In my case the littler Aussie battleaxe has fallen down at the wood pile, her fingers reaching feebly for a piece of kindling. I have just removed myself from my bed where, with a mild fever I have delusionally thought of replacement words for those that were not quite right in the 150,000 words plus of our novel.
How do I use imagery? Everything I write I have a picture of in my mind, including passages where the characters are reflecting. I try to to true to the image by portraying it as interestingly and accurately as I can, often whilst introducing the reader to something new (I cannot help but attempt to spread knowledge, it is the teacher in me). This is the process that I use to to communicate with you, the reader, with my best wishes for your enjoyment and increased understanding.
Wednesday, 26 September 2012
As I fit the characters' lives into the historical facts (and readers will discover a few not commonly known), I wonder in some trepidation whether I am doing them justice, or injustice. How could I possibly know what it was like in those times for which little archaeological and written evidence has been found? (It is believed that what existed has been destroyed or the information sabotaged). At times I have felt quite presumptous in even attempting to represent some of these historically elusive people on the pages of a novel written for the present. Will readers grasp the significance for then and now of this two and a half thousand year old civilisation? When the characters look up to the stars and the readers are prompted to do so themselves, hopefully the latter will feel the connection between these ancient people, themselves and the millions of their descendents denied or fighting for their freedom in the same territory today.
As each chapter was finished the story would edge to completion and I still would not know how it would turn out. I suppose somewhere in writer's manuals and courses are instructions to plan the plot. These are for structured writers who need security (and probably not to waste time making plot detours) but part of the absolute fun and anticipation of writing a novel is being there with your characters. You actually live in the book with them. Inspite of the possibility of there being a psychological disorder description for this mental phenomenon it is a type of roller coaster ride amongst the computer keys. But more than that it is the re-composition, in the case of our novel, of lives already lived. Put that way it sounds daunting.
Now I have neglected the blog (again) I feel guilty for not having confidence that one day it will be read (writer's isolation -relective of 'will anyone ever read the book, or the blog for that matter?). This evening is devoted to catching them up, in the hope that I can remember all those 'blog thoughts' that I failed to record.
Doses of writer's fatigue have plagued me, plus the effort of completing the story when I do not know what will happen next. But my co-author who carries the stories of these ancient people in his DNA supplies the bones while I fill out the flesh. I have shirked posting because I did not want to admit that I was beating the well worn path of tiredness.