Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

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Monday and I Have Hate and Redemption.

In fiction, things break. They break like rotten wood and you can't fix them and you drown as narratives snap, characters turn hollow and brittle, and the words feel like they're born in the mind of a dyslexic five year old.

In classes, I tell students this, but I always have this sneaking suspicion that they don't believe me. Perhaps I'm not dramatic enough, or maybe I need a monkey helper, but it's not really a problem. What one person considers broken and what another person considers good aren't necessarily on the same page. Instead, it's a knowing realisation on the author's part that stems from a growing awareness of what he/she is capable of and what is desired in the work. The more an author grows into his or her capabilities, the better the author become at identifying what is broken.

There are broken chapters in A Walking Tour of the Dreaming City. So far, I've had three. At one stage, they might have been serviceable, but they're unredeemable now. There's nothing there but ash and my hate and I've had to begin from scratch for these chapters: new characters, new plots, new ideas on how they fit into the mosaic of the book as a whole. It has pushed me back some in the schedule, adding an extra month, I think.

That's okay.

See, I honestly thought I was going to have a fourth broken chapter today. I've been trying to make it work for the last two weeks and I woke up today with nothing but hate for it, and I thought, Fuck it. If it doesn't work by the end of today, I'll just scrap it and begin again. It would have cost me thirteen thousand words, which means that it was one of the more structurally important chapters, but better to kill it than to allow the rot to set into the other eighty thousand words. A dead piece of fiction must be amputated, just as with a dead flesh and living men and women.

That, however, did not happen. The characters found their place. The chapter found its way to the end. It's now called 'the Spring City'.

Now, to find some children to pour petrol over.

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