Friday, April 20, 2012

What is a Novel?

Own the novel form. Commit to owning it. Remove from your mind that you might be naturally adept at writing novels. Make yourself a writer. Do it now. What have you been doing to date? This is the question that came to me as I stood over my not so Ozymandian works.

Where is your higher standard? The ethic? The process? The drive?

Where were these elements in your filmmaking? Nowhere. My process in filmmaking was to capture natural accidents and to edit them into a cohesion. Where is the rigor in that?

Rigor and discipline, something my work has lacked for some time.

What is a Novel?

When I say novel, I mean a great novel.

  • Subtlety of narration
  • Attractive foundation characters
  • Mystery, suspense (Aristotle disagrees)
  • Power (withheld or wielded)
  • Natural detail (semblance of reality)
  • Structure that frames the story and adds to the narration
  • A mastery of the language within which the novel is written
These are attributes, but what of the story? Am I giving up to say that there are no rules governing story? I don't think so. But it seems you are still short of attributes necessary to create a guideline.

Somehow the subtlety of the narration implies ability to engage and draw in the reader.

This is the critical aspect as I see it.

And is language the extent of the skill required? Surely not. Word choice. Elision. Reference. Echoes.