January 12, 2009 § Leave a comment
And finally I finished reading Maryce Condé. It’s always interesting to watch ones own reactions while reading a book that is so far from your own culture. I’m not sure I liked it, but not sure I disliked it either. Crossing the mangrove tells a tale of something I can’t grasp at all. With it’s old school gender roles, its’ racism and prejudice. It is, unavoidably, very far from my world.
I think it’s good to expose yourself to such litterature. For me it’s good for more then one reason. First and foremost off course since it gives insight. Second, because in my work both as an author and a teacher I need to understand these things and be able to read this sort of text, laying my own personal ideas and ideals beside me and just travel within the text. One of the hardest things when working as a teacher for creative writing is that you often come across texts that you simply don’t like. This doesn’t make them bad, it’s simply a matter of personal taste.
To penetrate a language or a way of handling language that is far from your own, you need to have the right tools. These are the things I’m trying to learn now, to not just disregard such texts as bad or too strange. I too write strange texts, mine is just as incomprehensible for many people around me. Do I want respect from them anyway? Yes, off course. Thus, I have to learn how to give that time and respect to others.
Writing fiction is a complex matter. There is so much more to it then just writing down the story. Constantly during the process you end up on a meta-level. Is this text right for my pressumed reader? Do I keep my language on the right track? There is always a risk of slipping into a cliched version of the story, when you just want to get it over and done with, instead of remembering your voice.
However, there’s some tricks to keep it going.
1. Read the text out loud from time to time.
It helps, you get a chance of hearing if you slip in voice.
2. Let someone else read it.
This might be an obvious one. But still, letting someone reading the text and ask them not to critique details but just cheer you on and point out mayor bumps on the road helps a lot.
3. Find music that suits your style of writing.
To me, this helps a lot. During the course of writing a longer story you will go through a lot in the rest of your life, when you change, so does the text. To have the right soundtrack can bring back the voice.
4. Live with your characters.
For me, that means that when I go out in to the real world, I talk to people about the story, or I keep thinking about what they would do if it was them and not me. I internalize them as much as I can. This way, when I write, I can feel when it’s me talking and not the text.
Short list, I’ll add to that later. Now I’m going to write about the book for my hand in.. Have a good night out there!