.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Genesis of a Historical Novel

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

meaning as literary value

The heat of summer has arrived. We have brought out the fan to blow over us in the night--nice. I seem to be more tolerant of heat, especially at night, than many people. Robin, also equipped with a fan, has not been able to sleep in her room the past two nights. I think back to subtropical nights in Mexico when I traveled there with Brad in 1979. Some of those were hot and humid--as well as bug-ridden in a couple of cases. And for a few days we found ourselves bunking down on solid concrete, padded only by a sheet and our clothes. No--I know comfort when I've found it.

This morning at coffee-time I found myself almost paralyzed here at the PC--something very like writer's block, I suppose. I'm still working through my response to Zuckerman's Writing the Blockbuster Novel, which I still have not finished reading. Even though I'm not deliberately writing a blockbuster, I still want to learn and apply what I can, for I feel Zuckerman's advice is valuable. But how much can I apply? And can I get my story to the point where I think it's good?

For this to me is the key point. My goal was and is to write a book that I would want to read. By and large, I don't want to read blockbusters. So I need to preserve those elements of my work that I regard as indispensable for a truly readable book--whatever those may be, and I'm not sure exactly what they are. I have spent several days examining the question in my journal--this is what has been taking up my writing time lately.

The best I've been able to come up with is that I'm looking for writing in which the writer shows an awareness of the meaning (or meanings) of his or her work, and has taken the trouble to go through and weave those meanings into every aspect of it, so that every detail reflects those meanings in some way. That is when a work of writing has true integrity, quality, and what I would call literary value. Of course, I also take it as a given that it must be a good story, well told--rare enough in itself.

Fussy devil, aren't I. Well, I'm suffering in an appropriate way, then, for I am turning my fussiness on myself. It's a terrible experience--but also good.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home