Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Of Course; It's Chekhov

I have committed to my next project, the literary fiction piece currently titled Go Home, Miss America. Enough screwing around already, yes? Today at lunch I wrote a good 500 words, finishing up the sex scene that begins Chapter 3. It's a good scene, I think, almost all internal action and you get to see a little bit about Violet (the lead male's wife) and a couple of neighbors are possibly introduced as well. As I was working on the scene I realized that the way the characters' emotions evolved along the way seemed familiar and then I thought, "Of course; it's Chekhov." Of course. It's Chekhov. Once more I wonder why I read anything else. Pity he never wrote any real novels.

Anyway, this is a Serious Novel but after I've wrestled it to the ground, I'll write a piece of genre fiction, I think. Either another philosophical detective novel or a sort of sci-fi novel. Or, maybe, that Antarctica book at long last. Or that one about Haydn and the builder's wife. Or that one about the devil in Baltimore in 1910. Or the one about Tolstoy and the unicorn. Or the one about...


  1. All of this talk of Chekhov has made me curious. I've never read his stories before. (Please, don't shoot.) After reading a little about him online, I see he's written quite a few. Where would you recommend as a starting point. Any suggestions?

    And I thought the monkey joke was funny.

  2. Chekhov invented the modern short story. He was the first European to really explore the inner lives of people in an honest, direct manner. You may as well read the ones you find online. The later ones are better than the early ones, so I'd start reading them in reverse order, maybe. You can also probably pick up a collection of 40 or so stories for dirt cheap at a used book store.

    The monkey joke is great.

  3. Congrats on writing the scene you like, Scott. Lately I think I've been writing with the Proust influence again. It happens every time I pick him up. The good things that come from it is that I write more precisely, and I rack up words fast.

  4. The Chekhov influence slows me down! I pause after every word and think a lot about how, specifically, each character is unsatisfied with the moment. It's exhausting, but I think it's giving the book a nice comic touch.

    Proust's comedy is wildly different from Chekhov's. I should read more Proust. It's amazing how he can go on and on at great length yet still write with great precision.

    It also occurs to me that the entire half of the narrative dealing with my male protagonist is one long sex scene, in a way. I'm not sure yet how to characterize the other half of the narrative, which deals with the female protagonist. I'll have a better idea when I get to Chapter 4, maybe next week.