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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Getting things out of my head

Certain people sometimes think this blog is a code. Unfortunately I am far too tactless for that. Yesterday's post was an attempt to get something out of my head after reading a book. I could have written a post on addiction and the hero but need to think about how to approach it as I do not agree that an addict makes a good hero. No subtext here -- just that Nicola Cornick's blog made me think about things and the ever present why.
Sometimes things just strike me between the eyes. One thing is that the necessity of tying up subplots, particularly when certain things have been foreshadowed. Readers do wonder.

Readers do want the emotional payoff. They also want to believe that people are capable of being redeemed.

I know that I avoid bleeding on the page because it hurts. It is the old 10 percent rule -- the vast majority of readers will only get 10 % of the emotion you put in the book. In order to make sure that emotions are fully engaged, the writer needs to bleed. If you do not care passionately about characters, how can anyone else? It is something I do struggle with and when it is brought home to me, I go -- oh. it makes perfect sense now. Whether I can actually execute on that is another question. And each time I write, I do wonder if I will give enough blood.

Last evening I watched a programme we had taped about Sir John Mortimer. Like many driven people, he worked hard. When he was a barrister, and indeed I think for most of his life, he rose at 5:30 am and wrote. He also wrote before court. In other words he worked hard. His success was far from effortless, although he did like to pretend.

As some may know, he had a secret child. An affair with the actress Wendy Craig resulted in a baby boy who grew into a man before John Mortimer ever met him or indeed knew of his existence. He only learnt when a biographer interviewed Wendy Craig and she felt the need to confess. His son was grown and it turns out they get along very well. My dh turned me and said that he thought such things only happened in romance novels... I remarked that he had forgotten Peter and Dan Snow. Secret babies do happen. It annoys me when people say they are unrealistic... It is the motivation that is interesting.

1 comment:

Donna Alward said...

Bwhahahahahahaha!

Ok but you have to admit your sudden insight was very timely....

But me and my ego will just go for a walk now.