I just love it when you read and you get so wrapped up in the characters and the place time kind of tumbles into a void of ‘lostness’. I suspect it’s the same place all the lost socks go. But that’s something else.
I find this happens less and less to me and it’s either I’m reading the wrong books or I’m like so hypercritical I am my own worst enemy.
Although I do frequently lose time when writing — most in that in between place where the line between what is and what could be become blurred. You look up from the computer screen and think “Where am I?” Know that feeling?
This for me is what it’s all about — those moments of pure inspiration when you think wow this is the best thing I’ve ever written — and then delete it the next day when you realise it’s not. But somewhere in that strive for the all elusive perfect writing — the gems will stay. If you can write something amazing then you can make it ALL amazing — or that’s the theory. Welcome to editing!
I don’t think such a thing as the perfect novel or the perfect story exists — or does it?
I read lots of things and while the snob in me likes to savour the real literary award-winning I want to be seen reading this book book, I have to say that quite often it’s not those that take me into that tranced out fictive dream state I so desire. And who needs drugs? Right?
I am currently reading One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper. I like his Americanness and his flawed real characters .In essence the conflicts are pretty normal things but the voice (for me anyway) is a grabber. He does use the F word a lot, and when I look back at my current novel and Amy is pretty flawed, I can see similarities in her voice. I did actually sub While No One Was Watching to Jonathan Tropper’a agent and she did like it enough to request a full MS. But of course she passed in the end and did have reservations about taking on a Brit who thinks she’s an American!!!
I like his books, they seem to gel with me, perhaps I am really an American in a British body, who knows — maybe I just like flawed real characters (I mean I love Stephen King!).
I do also like other books and while there are only 2 and a half weeks until I go to Hay I decided yesterday I wanted to read all 5 novels on the Commonwealth Book Prize Regional Winners. I downloaded two to Kindle and ordered the paper one of Lisa O’Donnell’s The Death of Bees that will come next week. The other two need to come from the states and are pricey so might have to miss those. But since I will get to meet the winner I hope it’s one I’ve read.
I will let you know which one I like the best — more literary or more commercial?
I just finished Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry that was on the short list and really enjoyed it.
So when was the last time you entered that all-absorbing fictive dream state — be it as a writer or a reader and anyone fancy posting some reviews on this Blog? Would love to hear from you. And talking of that the Guardian are offering someone who reviews a book the chance to win all 5 titles on the Commonwealth Regional Winners List — check this out: LINK TO WIN BOOKS
Well hope you find your altered reality today.
Let me end with this story from the Irish writer Adrienne Dines who I had the pleasure of meeting and did a workshop with some years ago at the Winchester Writer’s Conference. She was talking about Mills & Boon and yes there were some groans from the more ‘literary types.’ But what she said was she had an old aunt who loved them. She was well into her nineties, and could barely walk. her life was sitting in a chair, not doing a whole lot. So Adrienne said to her,”Want me to pick you up one of your books?” Of course she said yes and she complied. The old lady spent the rest of the day and some of the next in her own fictive dream and when she finished the book with a huge satisfied grin, Adrienne said to her “So who were you today?” And she said, “Oh I was a young nurse in love with a doctor. He was so handsome …”
There’s a room for all kinds of books. Let’s not be snobs about it.
Have a good day all!