Life Intrudes! What, already? How dare it.
It is half past seven on Thursday morning and I am writing this blog post I intended to write yesterday evening, trying to snatch a free hour before my very full day begins, I thought I had every Wednesday evening free to write this, but son number one decided to visit unexpectedly bearing this welcome and apposite gift. I hope you will forgive my shift in priorities. I’m no Barbara Hepworth.
Son number two had also decided to visit at the weekend, so I did little study on Saturday and Sunday except continue to keep my journal.
Last week I reread parts of Chapter one of ‘Writing Fiction’ by Janet Burroway and attempted more of the exercises linked to this. Early this week I began to look at chapter three. I have so far read only half of the chapter about characterisation and dialogue. There is more to come about characterisation. Characters are described as being revealed in six different ways at a basic level, four of them to be discussed in this chapter, and one of those ways is dialogue.
I have not yet begun, but plan to read some of ‘The Art of Character’ by David Corbett alongside the Burroway.
I have also been reading the early chapters of ‘Reading Like a Writer’ by Francine Prose. She says:
“With so much reading ahead of you the temptation is to speed up. But in fact it’s essential to slow down and read every word.’ (p15)
A concept I struggle with while indulging in my for pleasure reading, currently ‘Fingersmith’ by Sarah Waters. The struggle to consider choice of words while reading this fascinating page-turner is not one I always win.
Not so with Hemmingway’s ‘Hills like White Elephants’. A story that pleads to be reread again and again to sense the sway and pull of what is not said. There are powerful, unspoken emotions at work here. I imagine Hemingway waiting for a train at such a station and hearing a snatch of overheard conversation that inspired this story.
Which brings me to the exercise I’m undertaking in trying to make a habit of recording overheard conversation snippits. I have had little success thus far. I guess I need to get out more, but I did overhear this:
‘So that’s twenty four single carrots then?’
‘Yes, that’s right.’
I wonder what Hemingway would have made of it?
I have continued the ‘I Remember’ exercise. I am turning my effort into a performance piece to share at a memorial for a lately deceased friend. I have another month to polish and refine the work.
I have made a couple more attempts at the ‘Being Gorgeous’ exercise described by Le Guin, and will be using a similar exercise this afternoon at a writing group I co-facilitate.
Now I am beginning to think about applying some of what I am learning to writing in my current project, a novel about climate disaster. Why do I find this so hard? I it the prospect of having to rewrite the 30k words I’ve already written? I’d better just bite the bullet. Doubtless only one of many rewrites.
‘Writing Fiction’ Burroway, Chapter 3
‘Reading Like a Writer’ Francine Prose Chapters 1/2
‘Fingersmith’ Sarah Waters to page 200
‘Hills Like White Elephants’ Ernest Hemingway
‘The Art of the Character’ David Corbett to begin