Halfway through the month in which I set myself the goal of writing at least an additional 7.500 words as part of my next novel I am happy: I already wrote about 8,000 (and edited the 4,500 I wrote previously). Nevertheless I proceeding very cautiously. I’m reluctant to engage in a competition that will just egg me on to write words, never mind how they fit together. I don’t want my writing to become another pressure, after all I’ve had enough pressure in my life to and as part of the consultancy jobs to meet ‘targets’. I left all that behind, and so I’m taking my time. Of course, a 7,500 word goal in a month is simply not worth bragging about but I’ll just carry on writing as the story is slowly beginning to unfold and the characters are becoming more and more intriguing and going into directions I hadn’t intended to begin with. Just like real life.
Recently I received some harsh criticism on one of my previous books, ‘Notes on Anna’, which was that it was ‘like old fashioned English literature’, rather than being a story in which the reader is present, in on the action. In fairness, this was in response to my criticism of a book I didn’t like because it included endless pages of conversations that seemed never to stop. I thought about that criticism and concluded that if that is what writing is supposed to be about: action hung ho and people who never stop talking in order to make you feel that you’re with them all the time, than I’d rather not write. After much reflection and to calm myself and also because it is the next book on the book club list I reread John Williams’ Stoner, a slow and probably for many readers of fantasy and science fiction books ‘old fashioned’ book. However, it is so well written, so acutely observed and recorded that at times I’m breathless with the sheer magnificence of the writing. There is no action, not really, unless you consider the slow unfolding of a life with all its ups and downs, but without a real ‘plot’, as sufficient and acceptable as far as a man’s life is concerned. I accept that I’m not at all in that category of writers and that I still have a lot to learn – but I’d rather aim for the Williams’ style of writing than for action and constant mayhem. I already reviewed Stoner back in 2013 so you can refer to that post if you wish.
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