An update of sorts

Yes, I will get around to talking more about Eve Tushnet’s book. But both school and now NaNoWriMo have been eating up my time, and I need to re-read some chapters for my followup post.

About NaNo: I’ve (so far) remained on schedule, but there’s no way I’m gonna post this in the rough. Maybe some future draft of my magical girl/vampire/academic satire novel will find its way on here. Well, ok, I’ll share the opening sentence with you guys:

It is standard procedure for a preface to be written some time after the book it precedes has been completed, offering some insight into the book itself, the circumstances and purpose of its composition, etc.

Got that?

In reading over an old novella I wrote about a decade ago, it occurred to me just how much self-plagarism I’ve engaged in during all my various troubled attempts at fiction. Common tropes include:

– A weird town in Ontario which is the site of supernatural/surrealistic occurences

– The protagonist is a burnout or loser who is in a situation way over his head and often has a pathetic crush on a girl. In particular, I liked the somewhat tsundere relationship between the agnostic narrator and a radical traditionalist Catholic girl in my last NaNo novel.

– The protagonist is basically Stephen Dedalus.

– The gothic and grotesque will get cranked up high as soon as possible, with the tone vacillating between horror and black comedy (or attempts thereof).

– Shadowy organizations manipulating events. Many characters unwittingly become pawns of larger forces.

Gambit pileup.

– Apocalypticism. We often seem to be hurtling towards some sort of catastrophe, even if we never actually arrive.

– A kudzu plot which often spirals out of control (one of the reasons for why I have been hitherto unsuccessful at short stories)

– Pomo tinkering with literary form and narration

I’ve yet to tame a lot of this into something coherent and worth reading. Re-reading that old novella was a bit illuminating, as it highlighted my deep tendencies to treat fiction writing as a series of lab experiments as opposed to crafting characters that who are likeable and actually develop. My previous NaNo seemed to mark an advance in that direction, but was thwarted by the plot: the central murder mystery made no sense.

About Josh W

Scribbler and doodler
This entry was posted in fragments of culture, higher education, pop culture and its discontents and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to An update of sorts

  1. With those cases of self-plagiarism, it sounds like you have one story that’s howling to get out of your system. 🙂 At any rate, it sounds like you’re making much better progress than me at NaNoWriMo. I’ve yet to find the energy after posting every day for National Blog Posting Month.

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