Well it’s been a couple of weeks since our last post on Magic Realism, which is a little longer then usual but a broken laptop wire induced a total computer purge for the last seven days. It’s not a pleasant realisation to discover just how much one has become reliant on it as a source of connection to the world. I consider myself someone who is fairly resistant to the steady march of technology and computer literate in only the most basic sense but the feeling of being suddenly thrown into my daily life minus the internet, word processor, photoshop and the rest was like losing something as fundamental as electricity or hot water. Not that this post is really about that at all, on the contrary, but let’s just say I am mighty pleased to back up and running again.
In the meantime I unearthed an old tin of coloured pencils, encumbered beneath a basket of birthday candles, glue, paintbrushes and a glass vase, and sat down in front of a blank white piece of paper with my much chastened leaky rotring pen and the expectation that I was about to crack my thorny structural problems by going old school.
I loved working hard on such a physical documentation of my thoughts (may have spent a tad too long on the colouring but I may as well confess here and now that I’m someone who wants to make a shopping list aesthetically pleasing) and several scrapped pieces of paper and some very blunt pencils later I had what I felt was a fair representation of what was in my head.
I decided to break down my story into a series of key points which I gave descriptive titles (quite similar to Stanislavsky’s technique of breaking a play down into units) and these I set down in chronological order. I then grouped the points into four sections; beginning, the heart of the story, middle and the end. However, because this is a story about time, the chronology is out of sequence. So another piece of paper puts the middle at the beginning, the beginning becomes the middle and the heart of the story transforms into the climax.
This is in fact always how I intended to tell the story. While physically writing it out certainly fixed my structural problems it didn’t so much change it to make things significantly more sound but confirmed my existing ideas and made something unconscious, conscious.
My way of working has always been done more through intuition then research. I have an idea and I just go with it without much thought into why or if it’s even the most pertinent way forward. It was a constant point of frustration in art classes where I would happily compose a piece of work from my head and then have to spend long, boring hours constructing a justification for its existence in my sketchbook. There may certainly be merits to this modus operandi, I find it spectacularly easy to generate ideas for new projects, but when it comes to seeing something as complex and ambitious as our novella through to the end and creating something to the kind of standard that a publisher might look at and think this is well worth investing in then I feel it can only take one so far before all those unconscious, dark, swirling thoughts need to be pinned down and explored a bit more thoroughly, checked for holes and hewn out of the blackness into the light.
So, this is my first attempt, brought about by the sudden termination of a computer wire, to dredge up something solid from the waves and not without some measure of success or actual enjoyment.