Friday, January 27, 2012
In search of elegance
Mark Twain destroyed James Fenmore Cooper's works. He ridiculed Cooper's style and technical ability with what would amount to Kanye West grabbing the microphone from Taylor Swift's hands (or whatever their names are, I just remember the moment, not the singers) at the Grammys and declaring that she didn't deserve the award. Yet Cooper's books were elegant. There was a beauty to the art. He brought the power and grace of the American Indian to the page unlike anyone had prior. And the fact that the true heroes of his books were Indians, while Twain made them the villains of his, has to put some doubt in the minds of anyone who blindly rushes to accept Twain's view of Cooper's craft.
Elegance isn't easy. I think I've achieved it in the past, but I think I'm lacking in some in parts of my MS. My problem is that the need to move the plot along overshadows the need for elegance. However, I plan to go back and smooth out those parts as best I can to bring a bit of the waltz to the break dance.
What brings about elegance in a novel, one might ask. Simply put, it's the flow of one thought to the next. One scene needs to logically bring about the next, and so forth. I believe the writer allows himself more latitude than the reader in that respect. That means the writer should overcompensate a bit. Not so much that half a chapter is wasted on transition, but enough that the reader follows the line of logic.
On a lighter note:
Arlene put this blog in hers as part of one of those blog versions of chain letters. I'm supposed to nominate five blogs on here for my favorites. Well, I really only visit three regularly. One is Arlene's, one is Barbara's, and one is Jean's. The links are in the sidebar.
I've had a lot of friends in my life, thought most of them I no longer converse with on a regular basis, if at all. The ones I do keep in touch with are wonderful people, but they're not authors. They are great in person, but the written word eludes them. And, unfortunately, most of them are in Pittsburgh, or places like that. Too far to drive in one night and be home in time for supper. So, we e-mail each other periodically, some of us daily, but the people I've grown closest to are the authors I exchange blog comments with. Being authors, they express themselves far better than my friends or family does, which makes them more interesting over the Ethernet. What a strange world we've devised for ourselves.
As reclusive as I am, I thank God every night for this medium that allows me to communicate with people I would've never been in touch with if technology wasn't what it is today.