Category Archives: Literarily Speaking

XXIV

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed by this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never–”

“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.
~Stephen Crane

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On Edith Whorton and Childlessness

As I read more and more 19th and 20th century writers I tend to see a trend. Many of these writers–women and men–are highly prolific. Several are also childless. Now, when the bios mention childlessness in women the feminists around me groan. Why, they ask, is it assumed they wrote because they couldn’t have kids? What I want to know, and what isso often unanswered, is why no children? Did they chose that (a highly unconventional choice at that time) or did children just not come? (infertility is not a new phenomenon, but the diagnosis and treatments are new.)

As a writer and a woman who struggles with infertility I notice that the theme slips into my own writing all the time in many different guises. So when I see these writers who have no children andwhose writing exhibits themes of barreness, childlessness, or infertilityI wonder how much is autobiographical.

The surprising aspect is that many readers miss this theme even when it is repetative.

Robert Jordan has died.

May he rest in peace.

http://www.dragonmount.com/

Gone hog wild and a brand new idea*

Yesterday we went to our State Fair 😀 I love the state fair!
Turkey LurkeySome more pigs. No, really, they’re pigs.A pig

We spent a ton of money and won three fish. It was a good day.

After a long, fun, hot day at the fair where I did NOT write a single word I hopping into the shower and a brilliant new idea just came to me–title and all! For me,finding a title is like a really slow and unssucessful scavenger hunt. So to have one come to me, fully formed and backed by a solid idea is very exciting. So I’ve begun sketching out the idea. It’s too early to share the title, but it’s a good one!

The scary part is the story behind the title is NOT in my favored genre’s. Change can be good though.

What he said–

When one sets out to write a novel, and dares to tell the world, the advice comes from all directions and often conflicts. Novice writers today will hear about character-driven vs. plot-driven novels. They nod with serious looks on their faces over the serious business of writing positive that these details—knowing the difference between plot-driven and character-driven novels—will lead inevitably to agents and publishers and ultimate success.
And when a niggling voice in the back of their mind whispers “wait a minute, that can’t be right,” they squash it.
Henry James didn’t squash it, he wrote it: “What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?”
Plot and character within the world of the novel are inextricably linked. We talk about them like they are separate when, in fact, they are conjoined and unable to progress without one another.
This realization—one that the would-be author may have had before (if not quite so eloquently)—allows the author to set aside the endless discussions of which is more important or less important and focus instead on the heart of the story recognizing that as she develops her characters they will help guide the action of the novel and as the action progresses her characters will reveal themselves to her.
Henry says there are two kinds of novels: “bad novels and good novels.” Leaning on that, the writer should focus on producing the latter and not worry if it is plot-driven or character-driven, and, extending his philosophy further, should write the story rather than endlessly worrying what genre and sub-genre she should label it in her query letter.