2004-09-28

I Feel Her Pain, and I'm Curious About Her Prescription

Something Maud said has me thinking:

See here for her interesting essay on aesthetic approaches to the contemporary novel (ie. writing them), and her current avoidance of such (ie. reading them) for greater, deader-writer pastures. I went through that a few years back and read all of Somerset Maugham and wished I was a dead Englishman so I could write like that; then I read most of Wallace Stegner and thought, wow, I wish I wrote like that.

Or, if you're short on time, see here as Maud offers us a short-cut to the "wish I wrote likes", which should fill many wonderful procrastinating hours:


Anyway, I was blathering on about my novel and my Grand Theories About Psychological Fiction with Terry Teachout (whose biography of Balanchine, which appears next month, just received a starred review from Kirkus) several weeks ago. Based on the story I’m writing he suggested revisiting several other novels, including the aptly-titled Brideshead Revisited. He also offered a practical tip on the move from short fiction to the novel form, and I’ll share it with you.

Terry advised me to look through my favorite books to find a typeface I liked. He said I should select a similar font for my novel and format the text so that it looked like an actual novel page.

I followed his advice, putting the same approximate number of words on a page, setting the margins so that the block of text on my page was roughly identical in height and width to text on a standard page of the book. Terry promised it would help me conceptualize my story as a novel, enable me to see it as something distinct from my short fiction. And I think it’s working.

Now if only I could figure out how to make it, you know, good.


Yeah, I hear that.

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