“I can remember everything.
That’s my curse, young man.
It’s the greatest curse that’s
ever been inflicted on the
human race: memory.”
Jedediah Leland, Citizen Kane
Does great art have to mirror real life—to be great? If it is an art, but still does this, well… that in itself is great. Right?
Writing Unbind … one of the first things I got into my head was to treat the book as a work of art, which means delving into all the little, tiny nuances of life we forget. However, it is those details that without drawing attention to themselves—make the fabric of our work and our worlds. It’s something that has taken me a long time to master but including the tiny pieces of a world in your work really makes that book work for you… and more importantly, for others too. I read primarily for escapism as do most but that element of realism really does give a book “that edge”.
Dialogue is similarly another thing that is hard to master…
A book begins life as a virtual experience. As an author you first concentrate on the story and plot and work from there. You begin by mapping out the thing as a whole. To make it come alive in the second stage of creation (which is more about the themes and personality of that book) you take the process beyond your own sight of what is happening… to feeling the events through the eyes, ears and scents of your characters. It’s hard to pin down what that MAGIC ingredient is exactly… that thing an author does to draw you under a book’s spell… but when it works, it works. The third and last stage of crafting must bring your characters to life and make them so real… a reader grows to see and feel that character or characters with or without direction from the author.
This all sounds complicated but a good book really does emerge only from a lot of work done behind the scenes, which you the reader or audience never see. Even in the case of some of the bestselling authors out there, you can see which areas they’ve laboured and struggled over. There were maybe sections not easy to write but were nevertheless fundamental to the whole. It’s something we often neglect to consider—a book is not one chapter or one line. It is thousands of words created to evoke a multitude of feelings.
MEMORY, then. Whenever I meet up with old friends, they’ll often say to me, “How do you remember that?” I’ll often remind them of something they had clean forgotten. It may prove no surprise that at school, I struggled with certain subjects that didn’t spark any creativity because I view everything in pictures. It’s probably why people always finish my books and say, “It could be a film,” or, “I see that as a graphic novel one day.” The latter refers to the sci-fi. I thought when I first started out life as a writer—nobody wants to read what Character A had for breakfast that morning. Nobody wants to know that Character B has a bowel problem, either! Ha! These things are true. What the reader does want to know however, is the traits fundamental to your MCs that are essential to the storyline. That is what makes a book a piece of art—it’s only a square of someone’s existence but somehow gives the reader the details needed to imagine and feel the rest. It’s really in the hands of the reader to make books live. It’s really that authors have given you the tools, but you’re the ones sat there doing all the hard work—imagining all those images yourselves through a splendid arrangement of black and white letters on a page or tablet.
My protagonist in Unbind has a vivid memory, too. However, she sees things in archived boxes, a kind of internal filing system. It is this and her whole way of living that ultimately makes her the antithesis to another powerful presence in Unbind.
However, nobody will know what Unbind truly encompasses, not until the last word…
More to come…
Unbind is currently available for pre-order http://mybook.to/Unbind