Saturday, March 24, 2012

Being Dramatic

At the library I perused a book about film director Kenneth Branagh. The book stressed Branagh's dramatic entrance in his version of Shakespeare's "Henry V."

Two of the best American novelists knew how to create dramatic entrances for their characters. Think of the introduction of Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and the equally effective entrance of Dominique Francon in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. In both instances, the characters are much talked about before we see them, which adds to the effect. The best novelists are buiulders who know how to set-up aspects of their material, whether characters, or important plot moments.

I classify both Fitzgerald and Ayn Rand as pop writers. Two of the very best. Not only did they understand the importance of being dramatic, they were also the most visual of writers. Influenced by movies, perhaps, but it works. Pop ,lit is painting with words.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Standard

Right now there are so many capable writers that the only way to stand out might be to nail the largest and most complex form-- the novel. That's what I'm attempting anyway, whether the result be success or failure.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Making a text readable takes work. Anyone can write long run-on sentences containing many clauses, if the goal is simply to impress people with your difficulty. The novelist who wishes to compete with other media needs strikingly readable prose. Which means going through every sentence, winnowing and compressing while maintaining the same ideas, strengthening the narrative thereby, doing more with less. Making less have more impact.