I have not posted here since an outing in February to a wonderful dramatization of the Bronte sisters’ life. I am not keeping up with my reading list (although I do so on Goodreads). I started another #100daysofwriting challenge and quickly began forgetting — not to write, I never forget that — but to take a daily picture and post it on Instagram.
Feckless though I am, it struck me it might be fun in retrospect to have had some record here of the progress of the novel I imagine myself to be writing. Though it may come to nothing (the novel-diary plan, I mean — the novel will come to something, though hard to say what), mere risk of failure is not enough of an argument against. So here goes, in hopes that it can encourage others as much as myself.
I got a half-baked notion to write about the Brontes back in 2013, though I did not form any resolve until 2017, also an alarmingly long time ago. Continue reading →
Why write fiction? Why read it?
People enjoy stories because they are both like and not like real life. Fiction holds up a mirror to real life, but it’s a magic mirror: ideally it is shapely in a way that life generally isn’t, with a clear arc: of rising action, a sense of change, of forward motion. It leaves out the boring and irrelevant bits.
The successful distillation of life situations to their essence requires — what? Increasingly I think the whole goal of fiction is to make the implausible seem, by a series of subtle, almost imperceptible steps, vividly possible.
I’ve been thinking about this in the context of what did and did not work in Pam Mingle’s “Kissing Shakespeare” and Shannon Hale’s “Austenland” and two novels that would seem to have little in common, other than that I’ve recently read them, and that they involve the effort to assume the manners and customs of another time. Continue reading →