Started working on fiction again in preparation for the Arvon course I'm going on in November. (I know, I'm supposed to internally link but today I just cannot be bothered.) This is a different piece than what I was working on before the summer break -- somehow I couldn't pick up again with that one, which is essentially a story about a woman who is killed, mysteriously, during the Nazi occupation of the (fictional) island where she lives. Maybe because I stopped for the summer, I started to have too many doubts: about creating a fictional island (although I was enjoying that part); about how to tell the story -- in alternating voices, between the woman, her sister in the past, and/or the woman's niece in the present; about whether the world really needs another story in this "genre". Well, it would have been original I think. I'll probably write it one day. But it'll have to wait.
The thing that I'm working on now, I've had the idea for this story for years. I have written out several drafts of the beginning. Only now is it really starting to go any further. Writing poetry comes more naturally to me so I feel a bit lost in the "story" world. I'm at heart a miniaturist, each poem is really about one moment, or one very particular and nuanced emotion. Stories are the opposite of miniature: they are maxiature, big and complex and they move (or at least the kind I like to read tend to have movement). So at the moment my strategy is to write stories by linking one miniature moment, or scene, after another. I recently read something -- I think it was about Elizabeth Taylor the writer -- yes, it is in here -- it was very simple really, just that she said she wrote “in scenes, rather than in narrative". But this tiny sentence struck me: maybe I should try to write in scenes, too. And it occurred to me, too, how I might apply it to "Harry", the story I'm writing now. I have no shame about copying another writer's technique -- especially if it works! So I'm going now scene by scene, as though each part is under a proscenium. One benefit of this is it is easier to avoid too much digression into the past or thoughts of a character. You can only have so much of that before the scene bogs down. Consequently some scenes might be quite short -- no harm in that. Anyway I am proceeding now at my usual painful snail's pace, a few hundred words each morning before I go to the office, turning my internal proscenium to whichever character's turn it is. How long will this trick work? Stay tuned and find out.....
Vowels and Continents, by Adam Fitzgerald
2 hours ago