Posts Tagged ‘Alice Hoffman’

Le crayon rougeIt amazes me how, every time I read something I’ve written, I want to change it. When I finish it I think it’s great, then I put it down for a while, and when I pick it up again, I’m like…bleah…and I’ve got to make changes.

This has never been more true than with “The Book of Solomon,” my most recent short story, which I’ve recently ceased trying to sell to the “literary” markets.

Now, in my defense, this story is a major departure from my previous fiction, on many levels. It’s a genre I’ve not tried before (historical fiction), and it’s a style very unlike most of my other work. influenced heavily by authors like Gabriel Garcia Márquez and Alice Hoffman, I purposefully avoided dialogue, working toward a more internal narrative and fluid style. Also, I did not shy away from complex syntax; I wanted to let the narrative flow in the way my character might think rather than how a storyteller might speak. Lastly, there’s a flipping ton of chronological intrication, jumping around from present to past to deep past to near future to imagined future.

The result was a minefield. Every page carried dangers. (more…)

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiI know you’re all anxiously awaiting the “big reveal” on my full rewrite of “Cast in Stone”–he said, his words dripping with sarcasm–but that’s still a couple of days away. Meanwhile, I’m still working on the analysis task I set for myself.

If you’ll recall, as preparation for my next book, I’ve been analyzing the writing of some writers whose style I’d like to emulate. I’ve started with Alice Hoffman’s Blackbird House, a set of vignettes describing centuries of life around a single location. My goal was to understand how she is able, with extremely simple language, to create the feeling of lyricism and the mystical atmosphere that imbue so much of her work.

Let me warn you, though, before you take on a task like this. Just as most sausage-lovers don’t like to see sausage being made, doing a breakdown/ analysis/ desconstruction of a favorite author’s work can take some of the magic out of the reading experience. Suddenly, you’ll see the elements on every page, in every paragraph, and it may take some time before you can stop seeing those elements (if at all).


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