Sunday, 16 May 2010

simple sentences that say everything

The esteemed DoS suggested I read this as a good example of a piece that uses multiple voices. He was right, it is. Maupin manages the flip between characters with ease as you just don't notice it. Each character as a very distinct voice so you immediately know who the paragraph is about. He hasn't written it so that each chapter has a single character rather within each chapter he can cover several characters by leaving slightly larger spaces between paragraphs to indicate change of character. This is likely to be because the book was originally a regular feature in a newspaper.
His natural way with multiple voices was not what I wanted to talk about in this blog. I was reading it last night and came across this simple sentence 'She didn't shave under her arms.' A sentence with only six words which implies a thousand. There was no need for any further description of this character and none was given. You knew what sort of woman he was describing. As a reader you knew when the story was set - 1976 and what was implied during this period when a woman didn't shave her underarms. A second wave feminist to the extreme probably. But no explanation was required. Those six words said it all. It is a confident author that is willing to leave at that. And something that I know I am guilty of - giving too much information too soon. I found a new acronym the other day - RUE - Resist the Urge to Explain and this will be my new mantra as I edit and re-write three of my chapters of THE novel.
I completed a story map yesterday so the whole story is now down on paper. It had been in my head for ages but it was very satisfying to see it in a tangible form. I will be interested to see how closely I stick to it or whether the story and characters end up taking me in another direction. Interesting times coming up methinks.

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