Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek
benpeek

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Update for the Dead Orbit.

i have once again changed the look of dead orbit, but not the name. i'm rather fond of the name, myself.

part of me thinks i should get a paid account, so i can do more with this journal, but economics and my limited (read: none) web related skills, stop me from doing so. perhaps in a year and a bit, when i'm done with this thesis/novel and i find myself unemployed, but signing things with a 'dr' in front of my names. well, at least for a week or two, before the amusement ends.

but, i was thinking about my novel today, and figured i might start talking about it here, for no real reason other than giving my thoughts a place to churn around. the novel doesn't have a title yet, even though i'm close to have about thirty five thousand bad words of it written down. which means that i have drafts of parts that alter as more of it gets written. it's done purposely in this way, because i view the evolution process to be the most important part of the working process to arrive at the point where i want to be, which, at this point, is now only finding proper definition. this might sound like a strange way to write a novel, or any kind of fiction, and maybe it is, but it's the way i've worked. very little has arrived full blown in my head, though a few of the shorter short stories i've published spring to mind.

this novel is, for those who don't know, a mosaic. each chapter is a new character, a new style, a new view of sydney. once joined together, it should meld into a one strange view of sydney. the idea to do a mosaic came from gunter grass, so if it doesn't work, i'll blame him, and his fine novel My Century. another book that has been a vague influence is italo calvino's Invisible Cities, but i've been cautious about this book. it was possible, in the early stages of my planning, that i could have come under too much of a calvino influence, given my natural desire to leave reality and truth out of things, and ended up with nothing but a pale copy set in sydney. i'm confident that i've avoided this, however, and can even acknowledge that the fractured nature of calvino's book has had a tiny influence.

the problem with writing a mosaic, is that there is generally, not a moment where things click in, and the characters leap up, and shout, 'this is where we're going.' it happens, but not to the degree that a character arc controls the rise and fall of a narrative. the reason for this, in my case, is that each chapter presents the reader with a totally new cast for two to three thousand words. a short story, basically. now, within that arc, the characters often dictate how it will end, but they are also in the aid of setting out a piece of sydney, so they're not wholly free to do so. if they ay, 'hey, talk about my time as a pilot,' and that doesn't serve the section of sydney i am writing about, then, even though i've got the whole thing worked out in the flash/inspirational moment, i have to say no, can't do. this is not what we're doing. i've found that the research, and the suburb itself will often act as a counter to this, offering its own inspiration flash, but the end result is still the same in that chunks of the novel, such as ten or fifteen thousand word narrative bridge, simply doesn't fall into place, and present me with a detailed plan to follow for a week or two.

(that said, i expect that something similar will happen when serious rewriting begins towards the end of the year.)

instead, i constantly moving around, changing narrative tools, genre, and cast. everything i can get my hands on. while i do miss that large flash of 'ohmygod, this is what has to happen now, it's so obvious', the change is a fine swap. i've learnt more about character voices and writing in the last year than i thought possible, and it has forced me to embrace the diversity that a mosaic novel offers, if you're brave enough to pick it up. which, brave or foolish, i did.

today/tonight, i am rewriting the unreadable draft of the parramatta chapter, and before i sat down to begin writing this, i felt a bit sluggish about going to it. but you know, having just rambled on about it (and in the process, boring all of you out there, i am sure), i am ready to get down to it.

which is just what i wanted.
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