Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Is Literary Fiction "Fragile?"

Anyone else read that thoughtful interview in the latest Poets & Writers with veteran editor Pat Strachan? Wow, she's the real deal. I was particularly struck by this, on how she doctors fiction:

I do think it's extremely dangerous to mess with a novel structurally, because it's close to poetry in that it's almost pure consciousness. The way it comes forth from the writer is the way it should probably be, even though maybe the beginning is unclear or not enough action happens in this part or whatever. With a literary book—I hate to say literary, but a piece of serious fiction that isn’t genre fiction—I try to stay away from structural suggestions because they can be very damaging. One big change can make the whole house of cards fall apart. So with literary fiction I really try to stick to line editing. I also think the less done the better, and I consider myself a fairly heavy editor. But I do as little as I can do, because a work of serious literature is a very fragile construction.

I've been writing fiction for 10+ years and still feel way too inexperienced to agree or disagree with this. My Kerouac-adoring, first-thought-best-thought-digging gut sees some big truth in it. My head is full of ringing bells. I've messed up a few stories along the way with various Frankenrevisions. But I'm also thinking hey, it's just story, it's malleable and rubbery, can it really be that delicate? Are we disrespecting story by calling it delicate? What do you think?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Blog Boredumb, I Has It

Sorry folks, I just haven't been able to get my brain in blog mode. Too many waves allocated to other things. Like my novel, Alma, first draft almost done, but I won't jinx it by yapping about it. And my job, which I frankly was able to phone in for awhile, but now I have a new boss, new challenges, and finally feel like I'm not just taking up space. It's pedal-to-metal all day at the office, which feels good, makes the day go fast. I miss that lunch-writing break I used to take in the coffeeshop downstairs, but that will come back, eventually, when the job urgency dies down a little.

Anyhoo, when I click on that Internet Explorer icon at the end of the day, I'm more prone to engage in passive activities. Like looking at videos. Have you discovered the page of Flocke videos? Flocke the insanely cute Eisbar? If you need to restore your faith in the power of cute, check her out. Here's one from Youtube:

She's a vocal creature. I think she will be one fierce bear. And speaking of creatures, have you seen the otters holding hands? It's got the plot of a mindless romcom movie. Be sure to watch to the surprise ending.

I'm tired. This is what I have been reduced to, cute-worship. I even check into I Can Has Cheezburger every day, how sick is that? Here's one of my recent favorites:

Humorous Pictures
Enter the ICHC online Poker Cats Contest!

Okay. I'm laughing at puns now. Be worried.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Red-Handed! JMWW Anthology Volume 2

Folks, I'm delighted to be anthologized again. This time, it's the JMWW annual, which is an offshoot of their awesome web mag. I just got my contributor copy in the mail. Yay!

The anthology is fabulous, and available via Lulu. Here's a great example of how POD technology puts power into the hands of the people, enabling indie web-based litmags to publish print editions, without breaking the bank. It's a smartly edited, fresh collection, and an honor to be included. These folks at JMWW are going places.