Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Writerly Wednesday: Feel-Goods

writerly wednesday, rebecca skloot, novel writing, louise penny

It's time once again to share some tidbits from my reading life.

First, I'm reading a sweet and engaging mystery by Louise Penny. It's the first in a series about a kindly and observant guy with impeccable manners named Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. I'm not quite done with Still Life, although I'm almost there. I think the deeper meaning of this story is that you don't always know the people in your life. You might think you do, and you might have a pretty good idea. But, we're all different than the portraits of ourselves that we perform in the world.  The author herself writes on her website about the "inner story" at work in this now 12-book series.  Here's what she says:
"My books are about terror. That brooding terror curled deep down inside us. But more than that, more than murder, more than all the rancid emotions and actions, my books are about goodness. And kindness. About choices. About friendship and belonging. And love. Enduring love.f you take only one thing away from any of my books I'd like it to be this: Goodness exists." 

I haven't gotten all of that out of the first installment, but I bet if I read all twelve, I would see these themes develop quite nicely. And if you like a Murder, She Wrote type mystery, this series is probably for you.

And now, second: As part of my online novel-writing class, I'm reading about structure.  Structure is both freeing and scary.  It requires post-its and/or notecards.  Sometimes structure is described as a braid, which freaks me out a bit.  Rebecca Skloot has a crazy cool structure in a book you may have read called, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  In the interview we read this week for class, Skloot talks about the structure of this impressive work, including her decision to include herself as a character in her nonfiction, journalistic project.  I liked what she said about that, and maybe you will too.  Here you go:
"There are times when I think writers should be in stories. You may be an actual character in the story, or you might be essential as a bridge between the reader and the story - there are some cases where stories are so foreign to readers that having a first person writer in the middle that fully understands the story can help readers relate to it."

Lucky for me, I'm always a character on this blog.  Otherwise, I might not be able to write about myself incessantly for 12 years the way I have.  Phew.

No comments: