- James Frey, in How To Write a Damn Good Novel.
I have an article on "Freshness in Fantasy" up at new 'zine Reflection's Edge this month. Their layout has frogs. Frogs!
I've been thinking about endings. I love endings. I love writing them. I love it when they leave the reader a little wistful, a complex taste lingering on the tongue, the afterglow of a good wine. I like books that open at the end, rather than closing. I believe a good novel is one you can't hold in your hand--or your head--all at once. I believe a good book is a book with implications.
It's my experience that the problem with first novels (certainly the problem with *my* first novel, anyway) is that they don't have enough scope. They end at the edges of the book. They don't sprawl out into the writer's subconscious, and the real world, and take the reader there with them. They don't imply, or if they do, they only imply a little. They don't suggest in ways that the reader's subconscious can pick up on, expand into his 50% of the story, use to make a realized world in his head.
They are tidy. They don't interact.
I spent a good chunk of yesterday talking with cpolk about One-Eyed Jack, and that helped me ferret out a lot of what I need to fix on redraft. I'm a compulsive underwriter--I have to go back through my drafts and talk to first readers and see what my subconscious planted in there the first time through, what it just brushed over and left lying like a dinosaur bone in a quarry, that I can chisel out a bit so it's noticeable to those who come looking later.
And it's this weird sort of balancing act, because a novel has to imply an entire world, without spidering off into enormous tensionkilling digressions and without seeming tidy, limited, constrained. Ideally, what you want is Tardislike--it seems compact until you walk inside.
There is so much more to this writing thing than just telling a story. And really, not much more to it at all.