Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

While I beaver away on Assault! On Heaven! and leave this blog with tumbleweed rolling through it, it's perhaps ironic that this whistling emptiness is one of the things for which I'm nominated for a Last Bird Drink Head Award, for Gentle Advocacy (to which at least one comment has been, "Gentle?!") Anyway, yes, that's swellegant news (albeit last week's) so yay! And congrats to all the other nominees too, of course.

In other news, anyone who liked the "Rules for New Writers" posts (I'll try and get some of the other rules covered properly when I can, I swear,) may well be interested in this interview I just did over at Creative Writing Now:

Actually, I don't think of them as rules for writers to follow so much as rules of how it all works that you want to get your head round. Like, "POV [Point of View] is not a communal steadicam," is really a summation of the inherent differences between written and cinematic/televisual media, and the differences within written narratives between the omniscient narrator and multiple third person limited, the problems that emerge when you muddle them.

So, rules five to seven basically set out a series of relationships between these aspects of narrative – voice, character, action and setting – that it will stand you in good stead to understand. As I put it: voice makes character; character makes action; action makes setting. That's not to say that voice is required to create character, mind, or that you can't effectively conjure setting with pure description in which nothing happens, in which the nearest you come to activity is the movement of an omniscient narrator's roving eye. What I mean is simply that imbuing a narrative with voice automatically conjures the POV character via that voice, that action will read more effectively as action the more it is presented not just as activity but as activity that has import for your characters, and that setting really comes alive when it's presented to the reader through that activity, when the character is engaging with it...

That is all. For now.

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Anonymous Alex said...

Glad to hear you're working on Assault! On Heaven!. As it happens, I read Escape from Hell! only the other day - am currently ploughing my way through Infinite Jest, and felt in need of a palate-cleansing. It was an excellent sorbet (though that's a wonderfully bad way to describe it). Particularly liked how the characters managed to balance so well between being types and being individuals, if you know what I mean - too much like types and the thing falls flat, too much like individuals and you get bogged down in unnecessary backstories and angst. Great fun!

12:42 am  
Blogger Colin Meier said...

Excellent discussion of style/content in the interview. The 'vessel' approach is particularly apparent in some recent science-fiction novels which are heavy on epic action, and, although I still kinda enjoy them, it's painful when an author doesn't bother to use words, or tenses properly, and also relies on fact-dumping. "It communicates, but it doesn't conjure" was a very apt way of putting it.

8:35 am  

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