Saturday, December 10, 2011
I once heard Lawrence Ferlinghetti, when discussing Alan Ginsberg say 'His poetics are different to mine.I have no problem with that.' It is exactly how I feel about John Locke's novels. I will not become a devoted reader, but thousands of people are, so I will not criticise his writing. But 'How I sold a million e books in 5 months' is a manual for writers who want to publish on the internet and his advice is pure gold. The first step for a would-be novellist, 'Write the best story you can.' Obvious isn't it. But that does not mean following the pattern of someone else's writing; putting Pride and Prejudice into the twenty=first century, or War and Peace into Afghanistan. So I am finishing my current novel, not with 'How to Write a Novel at my elbow, but by watching my characters without thinking 'That won't sell' whenever they do something unexpected or original. Thorny Glen is a romance between Harry Field who left school at fourteen to take over his father's dairy farm and who now owns a consortium like Fonterra, and Meryn Spencer who plays rugby, was a Black Fern in fact. And I am finding that these two have a lot of friends, enemies and associates who do interesting things which I record. John Ralston Saul, in his book 'Voltaire's Bastards' talks about the writer being 'a faithful witness'and I find myself being just that for my characters. Maybe this time I shall finish the novel, publish it and then resurrect the other four that are on disk in the bottom drawer of my desk.