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BIBLIOGRIND

Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Working on a Novel

“The Writing Life” has kept me busy … and, sadly, away from blogging. I’m not sure if this is going to change all that much, though I’d like to write a few posts each week. The competition between making a living and writing books ends up leaving out some things in a week’s time. And … I don’t consider my wife within this competition!

Meanwhile, I’ve completed the first part (Prague) of my new novel, with parts two, three and four (Vienna, Salzburg and Venice) to come. The Prague section, a present-day story, with additional looks back at the life of Max & Greta, has come to 100-k words. I’ve reread and rewritten these 187 ms pages, as an exercise for my mind vis-a-vis understanding all the characters, the nuances of Max & Greta’s relationship (past and present), and to prepare for what lies ahead.

At the moment what lies ahead is a blank screen, and 400pp of organized notes/scenes by which I’ll put together “Vienna” … and then “Salzburg” and, finally, “Venice.” I’ve thus far surprised myself at the length, the direction some things have turned, and I anticipate the next section to be equally long — because now the story takes its dark turn, as planned.

Oh, it will get darker by the time we get to Venice.

Of concerns, I have many; of fears, none. I have completely enjoyed — and have made much merry with — reading and re-seeing and re-writing “Prague” which helped me understand everything I need to know (so far . . . and, reaching just far enough ahead to make some clarity). As many of you writers know (or are beginning to learn), the real work of every book comes in the rewriting. Without it, no book is worth reading.

Making sentences sound rhythmic, even lyrical, and having the words describe a unique character living in a unique story, saying profound or everyday or disgusting things, is one of the great joys of writing — as it is of life itself.

 

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What Beauty is my newest novel, a story of art, obsession and ego. Read an excerpt here. It’s available as an ebook, too.

The Village Wit (2010) is a humorous and sometimes dark odyssey through village life, love’s fall, sexual politics, and that place where memory and modern love intersect. Read an excerpt here. This book is also available as an ebook.

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