Late Afternoon Thoughts on a Novel in Progress

It's all just scribbling in the end! I am not using italics for the Spanish translations in the Haxan prequel novel. I want to show stylistically the Spanish and English is all one part of the same culture. Now whether or not I am ultimately successful in this is open to debate. But that’s my philosophy why I am not underlining Spanish words, etc. I feel it is a correct one, so far.

Because I am not italicizing Spanish words and phrases I thought about not using quotation marks at all. I will write the novel in such a way as to convey who is speaking. There is dialog, but do so without the use of quotation marks? My writing buddy said that would require a deep rewrite of the 170 pages I have so far, and I agree. It would require a deep rewrite. But then I could go ahead and finish the novel in that vein. Hey, it could be worse. I could have a finished novel on my hand and then be faced with a 400+ page rewrite.

Well, no one ever said writing was easy.

Here’s the structural problem, as I see it. You can’t just pull quotation marks out and expect the story to flow. My writing buddy suggested I write the next scene and see what it looks like on paper. It will answer for me whether the story calls for that, plus it’s easier to add quotation marks in a scene for dialog, than to take them away and expect the prose to make any qualitative sense.

I have read novels before without quotation marks. I’m just wondering if the story calls for it. I won’t do it for any other reason than the story, because any other reason is an affectation on my part. I’m not going to risk the story for that reason alone.

Nothing I have mentioned here is consuming me. The story is consuming me. But these are questions that raise themselves every time you write something. I feel it is always important to look deep into the story and see what else it needs, rather than concentrate on smoke and mirrors to get the job done. I am toying with these ideas as the story unfolds. I am trying to see ways to elevate the story without it becoming more than itself. Or, what I mean, I guess, is drawing attention to the story that do not elevate or enhance other aspects of the novel.

This is all stuff I am thinking of as I work. I always viewed this novel as an anti-western from the first day of conception. Non-traditional ways of structure might help convey that sense while keeping the story congruent.

I have been waking up around 3:30 am and ready to write. I have done this profession a long time. This is the nice part. Strike while the iron is hot, because later when that energy flags you still have to write, and it just becomes work, work, work.

Another thing I am concerned about is  how it looks on the page. A lot of writers don’t consider that, but it’s important. It’s one of those almost nonexistent things you don’t necessarily think about or consider, but they operate on subconscious levels and readers definitely respond to them.

It’s looking like this will be around 100K words or so. Not  too bad. I want to keep it around there. 125K tops. It doesn’t feel like a bigger book than that, and if it were bigger a primary character’s role would be diminished. That would be totally wrong because the entire novel is about Marwood’s relationship to him. You subsume the antagonist to that degree and the novel would collapse. I don’t want that, obviously.

There’s always something to keep in mind when writing. It’s not just transcribing the story from your mind into print.

It’s the subtleties that kill you, and keep you up at night.

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