Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Maud Butler Falkner’s Ghost

I know what you mean about the editing necessary when walking the precipice of reality. Can't afford to be glib or cheap or easy with our language ,,, the story would enter the realm where anything seems possible and the tension would evaporate. As to creating much chaos in your cranium, how could you possibly tell? What degree of bedlam did you use as a benchmark?

When my teachers said to embrace my mistakes, they were suggesting I take the hundreds of sheets of incorrect math equations and carry them to the dumpster. Under all that snow, Billings Montana was green. As was William Faulkner's mother, Maud, at our seance yesterday. The agitated woman kept pounding on the table and moaning, not unlike my math teachers. 
My character who talks to the dead went to the library in Chapter 12. He found out parapsychology is considered by many to be a psuedo-science. Go figure. I have a nice psuedo jacket but I have to dry clean it after I eat. Anyway, my character and I were both surprised. Libraries have a lot of damn nerve with their research books and big dictionaries. I had a big dictionary the size of a recliner but someone borrowed it for an unabridged piling. 

Research -- that's an unseen pleasure of fiction writing. You expect research in non-fiction. It's often behind the scenes in fiction. We have to know the landmarks of our settings --- sometimes to the extent of checking whether our memory is accurate. I've been absolutely positive ... and wrong. I've wanted to know more about a piece of music, or the history of the Anza-Borrego Desert, or the different departments in county social services, or what did Houndsditch Street look like in 1888 London? I get curious, immersed in my research education, and forget I'm writing. So, like we were talking about earlier, we write what we know about  but it doesn't always have to be from our own experience. Is that so obvious?

My protagonist decided to go to the library. I hadn't thought of it myself. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

William Faulkner's mother

Hey man, go light on William Faulkner's mother.  She's getting old.  If you had teachers who told you to embrace mistakes, you must have grown up in a different United States of America educational system than I did.  AND if you had teachers who told you to embrace your mistakes you must have felt like you'd won a free trip to Disneyland!  (I, Charles, am that good good friend who will turn on you in a minute.)

Using the paranormal in any way is an interesting and slightly dangerous path to walk.  It's easy to fall into cliches or go to a place that's unbelievable.  It has to be exactly consistent to be good, and some great "twist" about how it works is always good.  I tried it to a small degree in The Sledding Hill.  I had to do an amazing amount of editing on that very short book because I couldn't get it in my head what the dead narrator would know and not know and how he would articulate it.  He was still fourteen and I needed his teenage voice, but he had also escaped out into the universe where, I assume (and therefore incorporate) that he would know more.  When you're writing such a book you're appreciative of good editing.  I'm doing it again in a different way with this new novel and like you, am having fun, yet creating much chaos in my cranium.  

Again, go light on Mrs. Faulkner.  She carries the burdon of birthing an author who is at the same time very famous and unreadable.