Saturday, November 27, 2010
I can learn from this. Again, Sanders (at his best) makes the tedious and frustrating process of developing characters and making them interact seem effortless. Steve Matanle talks about using chance during the creative process and just trying things, just to see what they do to one's characters and settings. His theory is that, when it's done well, it creates suspense by piquing the reader's curiosity and defying their predictions. I think Sanders pulls this off more often than not in Orange Juice.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Not that Syrup or Travel Writers are bad books, mind you. They're both engaging and full of wry observations, and Syrup delves into the marketing industry with smirking enthusiasm. But they're both cinematic to a fault, in that each story is paced like a movie and contemporary Hollywood aesthetics are maintained throughout. It's numbing after a while, and abrasive in the same way that watching Van Wilder was abrasive - none of the "underdogs" are risking anything in terms of social capital. There are real moments in each book where the narrators experience real uncertainty, but those moments don't linger. Which is unfortunate, because it's hard to maintain what's supposed to be a suspenseful, roller-coaster plot if there's no energy in the plummets.
Since I'm editing a novel as we speak, this is all good to keep in mind.