Sunday, October 28, 2012

Going from the complex to the simple.

Started reading a book last night and I must have been hungry for it because I read over half of it before bed.  "Learning the World" by Ken MacLeod.

I gave myself the instruction to pay attention to how it was written.  Of course, most of the time I found myself just reading, and then I'd go, "Oops" and go back and check it out.  I'm finding that analyzing and enjoying a book are two different things.

I was interested in how he handled the simple, "He said/She said" transactions.  So, that's pretty much how he wrote.  Except sometimes switching "Said he."  No adverbs whatsoever.

Secondly, I was interested in the ratio of narrative versus scenes: Half and Half?  Higher percent of narrative than I expected.  But it wasn't expository narrative, it was all move the plot forward narrative.

I was looking at the denseness of the writing:  Lots of very long paragraphs, and long sentences.  The book I'm currently writing has lots of short paragraphs -- perhaps the influence of writing this blog.

And finally, how much description he did:  Lots of it, but then again, he was describing "alien" environments.

Pretty basic stuff, but the longer I do this, the more I seem to be going backward into the nuts and bolts. 

After last nights experience, I'm inclined to go back over half a dozen books I've read in the near past and analyze them.  I'll know the basic plots, so I can just kind of see how they were constructed.

It's possible, I really need to learn more about writing to be effective.  (No kidding.)

I'm also going to try much harder going forward in paying attention to the mechanics of books.  This is a bit dangerous.  Back when I was writing my first few books, I almost couldn't read for a few years.  I was too distracted by the awareness of the mechanics to enjoy them; and too afraid they would somehow infect me in a negative way. 

In the end, I'm going to have to make some qualitative decisions based on my own instincts.  Diagramming is all well and good, but it still needs to be my own voice.

1 comment:

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