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Friday, April 08, 2016

Novels take an awful lot of time to write

Long absence from blogging because ... a novel, a play, many grant proposals, a poetry manuscript, and I have words coming out of my ears, dangling over my head as I sleep, raining into my bedroom, puffing out of my puppy's nostrils. (Can you see that one? I do!)

Really, novels take too much time to write. I love reading them and writing them. I hope I've learned enough to write faster the next time. I've learned way more than I ever wanted to about story arcs and story structure, including such things as plot points, pinch points, story goals, stakes, consequences, foreshadowing -- and I had little idea when I waded into the book that there was such a science developed around this art form.

Now when I read or watch TV and movies I'm analyzing how they're handling story and character and backstory and setting. It's good to know the rules to break. I so look forward to getting back into poetry, where the rules are more familiar and breakable. I can hear them cracking along the lines where the chips appeared and then the pieces falling on the floor and breaking into smaller pieces. Those rules I know and love. These new ones, I'm tapping with tiny hammers to find the breaking seams.

Recent novels that interested me: Erica Bauermeister's The School of Essential Ingredients, Karen Essex's Leonardo's Swans, Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves, Christine Potter's Time Runs Away With Her.