Thursday, 12 June 2008

The Truth About Modern Fiction

Last night my super friend 'Gordon' and I had a lovely girls night out - we escaped the children, and husbands, and went to Mr B's reading event.

This week's guest was Ed Docx, author of 'The Caligrapher' and 'Self Help' (the latter published in America under the title 'Pravda').

I have to admit we made the effort to attend in part as a result of Mr Docx's fiendishly good looks....and as we arrived a little late, we ended up being squeezed into the front seats, only a yard from the rather scrummy Docx!

photgraph: Monica Curtain

Looks aside, he gave a very interesting talk, both about the construction of fiction and of the basis of the story itself - any frustrated writers would have enjoyed his description of the axis of writing - 

The 'X' axis being character, and the 'Y' axis being plot...he admitted in a slightly embarrased tone that he liked getting a balance of both, various members of the audience made clucking noises, as if plot was a dirty word - hurrumph - so it transpires that reading a book, which actually has a story is now considered low brow!

Having just finished "Either Side of Winter" which was well written, but had no 'Y' axis whatsoever, the truth is I don't care if plot is low brow. 
I want to be taken on a journey, made to feel emotion, care about the characters, and I simply can't do that if there is no plot!

There are too many books now, which are conceited, try to give the impression of being intellectual, but the truth of the matter is, books are there to challenge, dare I say entertain, not posture and preen.

I appreciate that each person may have their own opinion of what is high or low brow, but I struggle to understand why you would wish to wallow in words so deeply that you deprived yourself of a storyline altogether.
I would find it tragic if plot became less and less used, just because authors were afraid of committing the 'literary gaff' of actually including a story in their story!

Fortunately Docx ( did I mention that he's devastatingly attractive?) seems to have more balls, the way he passionately spoke about writing, made it very obvious that both words, and plot are terrifically important to him.

photograph: Nicky Willcock

I felt rather sheepish, I hadn't already read 'Self Help'....but I am really looking forward to, I just wish that I could have the entire book read to me by him (Mrs G he could be another prospective secret boyfriend for you).
The extracts he read to us last night were seductive - he deliberately writes with rhythm - a train journey in the book, described in words which made the sound of a train on tracks, the sensation assisted by Docx tapping out the rhythm on the cover of his book.

After having (the delicious) Docx sign our books, Gordon and I left Mr B's to go and find a bite of supper.....and discuss the rip in his jeans!  We're not low brow at all!

I'm sure I will!

photo: Nicky Willcock

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Either side of Winter

Our choice for the next read is Benjamin Markovits' 'Either Side Of Winter'.

I started reading it at the weekend, and it's looking promising!