That was the break.
After moving around with sketches and trying to find a path, the book that was being fiddled with on here in done, in the cooker, and in the hands of those making it ready for the world. Best thing to do at this point is to put my head down and get going on the new one. For those who have followed this blog, you know the drill. It’s my playground out here and when done, it comes off and into the machine that makes it all go. That may be the mind. For now, it’s exploration time. The good times. The times of early mornings and first thoughts and not worrying about the smallest details.
Now, I’m looking for the voice of the narrator for the new story, and can’t figure it out. Reading some Dennis Johnson over the past month or so – particularly his novella Train Dreams. It was incredible to me how he managed to have the narrator speak in the times that his characters were living in. Language itself has so much to do with how a story unfolds: It can actually establish the setting more than describing the surrounds can. I’m working on this part of craft right now, and it requires some patience – which is something I don’t have much of but am learning and trying to achieve.
Example of what I’m working towards:
The street below was full of children walking around with the freedom of not having a bell to answer to for a few days.
Cracked cement is forgotten because being physical dropped in rank to kids who refused to take both eyes or ears off of their little screens.
Both sentences give a sense of the street, but the second one, I think, is more in tune with the present time, so that, if someone were to read it, they could place themselves squarely in the the modern world. The narration gives the setting. Let me try with a street in a different time:
The returning students wondered about the new kids – they dressed the same most days and had odd food in their lunch pails. When we all traded at the table outside, they didn’t participate. Said something about needed it to be blessed or looked over. One of them, skinnier than most, spent his time looking at how his shadow bounced off the schoolyard concrete that had just been laid. Part of the new efforts after the war to build the country and keep everyone at work were all the highway and construction programs to public works, which of course extended to the schools.
I think the few sentences above give more of a time and setting. The way the narrator would talk and the tone at which he would address different people to a new area – the narrator themselves would need to have an opinion. It works like that if you place the narrator in the time that the story is being told. So that’s what I’m after a bit right now for this new book – The story is there, now I’m just going back and making sure I’m okay with the person telling the story. I would very much like to try something than first person right now – I say that quiet often I know, but this time, it would be fantastic to get intimate with another form.
We shall see. It never really turns out how you think – and I look forward to all of the characters taking over as they usually do. Anyhow, I’m back sketching up here for a bit. My first 3 books were all scribbled on up here – a big drafting board. Not sure why the WordPress format brings out the discipline of morning writing, but it does. Perhaps the structure is there.