f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 3 of Ezekiel’s Shadow – My Kind of Writing

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Day 3 of Ezekiel’s Shadow – My Kind of Writing

In his analysis of conflict and stakes at the heart of Ezekiel’s Shadow, Mark points out that the book does a fairly nimble job of avoiding those moments that would have amped up both. And thus drawn readers in more.

This wasn’t intentional. Instead, I think it’s related to both who I am and the things I like about writing a novel.

All in all, I’m not terribly emotional. There’s an axiom in popular fiction that if a book can make you cry and laugh, it’ll reach a huge audience. To me…well, that’s just not me.

I think it was Mark who recently wrote about the need to overwrite drama in his book to overcome his natural tendency to extinguish the fuel of compelling dramatic fiction. I have the same predilection.

At the same time, I was battling against the fact that those weren’t my favorite portions of the novel to write. Starting a dramatic thread and pulling it through 350 pages? That doesn’t drive me. I’m definitely not a “natural” storyteller—which is evident if you ever have dinner with me.

Instead, my interests (and strengths, possibly—I’ll let you decide) rest in the moments.

In writing both Ezekiel’s Shadow and Quinlin’s Estate, what I wanted to try and do were to create scenes or fragments or details that seemed “striking” —if to nobody else but me—and “original.” Things I hadn’t seen before.

So the book gets filled with tons of art, the stalker shaves his eyebrows, a lawn in Connecticut gets turned into a desert, a doll shop gets creepy, and Ian’s baptism almost leaves him drowned. I like all of that stuff. Linking them and connecting them and fitting them into the story was the “work” part of writing. (And often they’re linked best by theme rather than narrative.) The seams show and I didn’t put the work in to make them invisible before publication.

I think discovering what kind of writer you are will be important in moving forward in your own work. Finding stories that maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses might be helpful at first.

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