Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Work In Progess: A False Update

No, not an excerpt or really anything but I wanted to note that I have begun to put private jokes into the MS. I have done this with every novel I've written and each time I start a new one I promise myself that I'll knock it the hell off, but I can't do it. So there are little nods to the writers I personally know, little jokes for Mighty Reader only, something just for my agent, and last night I wrote a sly little "Paddington Bear" bit that still makes me laugh, if at nothing but the audacity of it. Today, I hope, I will work in a nod to Sam Beckett that's got me quite excited. In the Second Act there will be references to Tom Stoppard and to my own third novel. I just slay me with delight. When the narrative moves on to the Third Act, I fully expect the jokes to be replaced by Shakespeare references. It's what I do. Anyway, the detective story that's not a detective story is coming along well. I figure I'm about a fourth of the way through this first draft, and that ain't bad.

4 comments:

  1. Obscure inside jokes will make the Annotated Anniversary edition so much more worth it.

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  2. Absolutely. Don't stop with the inside jokes. As long as they don't hurt the fiction for other readers, it will be fantastic to have them there for people who want to dig deeper.

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  3. You know it's really all for my own amusement, to turn the writing process into a private amusement park. Also, decades ago when I realized that Nabokov did this, I wanted to do it, too. (Though in the preface to an edition of Invitation to a Beheadhing, Nabokov complains that nobody gets his jokes, poor guy.)

    There's also the challenge of fitting this stuff into the narrative so that it looks like it belongs, and I have a hard time resisting that sort of challenge. That's why there's an elephant reference in Cocke & Bull and a performing bear in Killing Hamlet and God knows what else. Though with the current book something else is at play. I'm attempting, I think, to put in everything I know about how men are in relationships. Men being primitive, that shouldn't take up much space. I'm also attempting to write about how women are in relationships. My knowledge being limited, that shouldn't take up much space either. So the rest of the pages are full of jokes and, oh yeah, the plot of a murder mystery. Gotta keep the covers apart somehow.

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  4. The way you write about this makes it sound part of your style rather than something that you should stop! Besides, every reader who gets the joke will immediately feel like they're included in a special club. And those who don't, probably won't even notice they missed anything.

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