Tuesday, 25 September 2012

How writers write

     Vladislav Bajac’s novel, Hamam Balkania, provides a thought provoking introduction on the writing process.  ‘The writer’s problem,’ he says, ‘one of countless others, is that they often confuse reality and imagination. That is the source of the famous loss of the boundary between what happened and what was experienced.’
     On character he says: ‘That is how I began to temporarily mix my encounters with people close to me; I want to say, I brought those who lived five centuries before me closer to my own time, and transferred myself and my friends (or characters) with ease into lives centuries older than we are.’
     That philosophy should be read before commencing to write. It will help to set you on the right path. I would love to hear other writers comments on the writing process.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Which is your favourite book?

    How many times have you been asked that question? I'm always surprised when people name a certain author or novel as their benchmark reading experience because my favourite novel is usually the one I'm reading at the time.
    I don't even have a favourite genre as it all depends on how a novel is written and the subject matter which combined,  make it enjoyable.

The Blurb

    In just the last twelve months, so many books have delighted me with their freshness and cleverness.  Marcus Zusak's, The Book Thief, must come as close as any book ever has to being a favourite. The beautiful, simple prose is incredibly moving and like all great literature, it is about what it means to be human. It is also about being a reader and a writer, one of my favourite combos.
    But inevitably, once a book is finished I move on to the next experience. So although Zusak will stay with me, I'm now involved in Peter Ackroyd's, The Clerkenwell Tales, a scholarly race through London streets in 1399. These stories of spies, friars, nuns and secret societies are richly imagined and strange, yet so realistic you could be one of their neighbours living in the shadows of St Paul's. I have lived and worked around Clerkenwell, so although the writing is intriguing, my familiarity with the setting also draws me in.
    That's often why I find myself scouring the shelves of my London library for Australian writers. Sometimes it is the desire to return to your roots that makes a story particularly enticing. I read Bryce Courtney's, The Potato Factory while here in the UK. I had spurned it when living in Australia but feeling homesick and looking for something familiar, I enjoyed the history and settings of London and Van Dieman's Land.
    Many readers heading off on holiday like to take Lorca to Spain, Michener's, South Pacific to Vanuatu, or Lampedusa to Sicily because it gives both their holiday and their reading another dimension in time and place. To take Jane Austen to the Kalahari, for example, would not do justice to either the work itself or to the desert. On a Nile cruise, Agatha Christie may turn into your favourite author.
    It takes all sorts to make a book memorable, to have significance for the reader and to make it a favourite. I don't think I could settle for just one.