Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Nowhere But North but this time I mean it

I have been talking, off and on since late 2010, about a novel I intend to write, a novel that will be called Nowhere But North, also known as "the Antarctica book." Looking back over this blog I see that I have announced annually since late 2010 that Nowhere But North would be "the next book I write." So far, that announcement has been a lie and I have kept finding other novels to write instead. But this time, I tell you, it is not a lie. I must finish typing up the changes to the MS of Mona in the Desert, and then I must read The New York Stories of Henry James and then, I tell you, then I will sit me down and start in on the first chapter of Book III of Nowhere But North. Do not ask me why I will start approximately 25% of the way into the book, or I will have to tell you that I am writing the story in chronological order but the MS will not present the material in that order and I plan to cut it into long strips and put the last bits first and the first bits last, three times in a row, with the very end of the story coming in small episodes between those long strips. It's a cinematic technique whose name I don't know but has been used often enough so I cannot call myself exactly an experimental writer. But Book II, mind you, has a very cool idea that I hope I can pull off, though it is also not entirely original. Originality is overrated. The novelty of the techniques do not matter one whit as long as the effect on the reader is what is made new, you Mr Pound you. And I think that's what Ezra might have meant anyway, else why write all those cantos?

8 comments:

  1. Go! My current book is not chronological, and I had a good deal of fun with it. Of course, it took me forever to decide on the structure, but you sound prepared....

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    1. I'm actually pretty scared to start, but the only way to start is to start. Besides, what's the Bad Thing that happens if I begin the book badly? I'll just have to rewrite it, that's all. I rewrite everything anyway. I need to stop telling myself that I don't yet know how to make this book, that this book is too big for me, or whatever excuses I've been using. "Not yet, not yet," I've been saying for almost six years now. I'm afraid of this book, for some reason.

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    2. I like the idea of doing books that I don't know how to do. It's good to jump off the edge of the known world and trust that your feet will find ground.

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  2. I am not a linear but an associative thinker, so I think I understand your bits and pieces scheme. As Faulkner suggested in a story, memory is not a road but a meadow. Creativity is also a meadow. Go for it. May the muse be your best friend along the way.

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    1. The best way to begin, I think, is to begin, so at lunch today I took out my pen nd I've got about 500 words on paper now. So that's something. Only 99,500 more to go!

      I don't believe in the muses or inspiration, but thanks for the encouragement! Encouragement is always good.

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    2. One of my worries for this book is that I've set myself some ground rules for the writing, among which is that I am not allowed to use simile. That's one of my primary tools, so not having it might slow me down some. We'll see. I'll have to find new shapes, which should be interesting.

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