I haven’t had much time for reading lately, which is why the “Currently Reading” section of my sidebar hasn’t changed in a while; I’m enjoying Virginia Woolf’s Night and Day, but I’m still ready for something new. Even though I like a book, I can still feel a bit bogged down in it. Well, this weekend will solve that problem somewhat, as I’ll have to read Frankenstein for my class. But I’m ready to pick up something new purely for fun.
The other thing I’ve been reading, though, is a friend’s novel-in-progress, the same friend whose earlier novel I described reading here. She’s been remarkably prolific this year. I decided to read through the manuscript once to get some initial impressions, and then to read it again writing comments along the way. I don’t consider myself to be much of an editor, but I do enjoy this kind of work now and then; as I was writing comments, I was mainly trying to pinpoint what was going on in places where I felt confused or uncertain, where I felt jolted or surprised by something that didn’t fit or wasn’t developed, or simply where I felt something was off. And I was noting places where I liked the writing or the ideas and places where everything fit together for me.
I do like having a little bit of a hand in the direction the novel will go, but at the same time, it’s a scary process — not because I’m scared I won’t like the book, which I know I will, but I worry my feedback will be frustrating or confusing or will get the writer off track somehow. I’m sure my friend won’t use any feedback that doesn’t seem right, but she still seems to take what I say seriously, and so I want to make sure I say very helpful things.
But to another topic entirely — Margaret from BooksPlease has tagged me for a meme: the “10 signs a book has been written by me” meme. Now I don’t think this book will ever get written by me, but, like Danielle who did this meme recently, I’ll play along. So here goes. My book will be:
- a novelistic type thing, although not exactly traditional
- character driven, not plot driven
- about consciousness
- with a female protagonist
- with long sentences
- set in the U.S.
- set roughly in the present
- in first person point of view
- influenced by Virginia Woolf, although (alas!) not nearly as brilliant as her work is
- influenced by Nicholson Baker’s attention to detail, although without the scientific/technological interests.
That would be my book, although thinking about it now, the list looks rather … boring. That’s why I’m a reader of novels, not a writer of them. I generally don’t tag people for memes, but this time I’m changing my mind. So I tag the following people, although if any of them don’t want to do the meme, that’s fine by me: Hobgoblin, Emily, Becky, Hepzibah, and Amanda.
11 responses to “Thoughts and a meme”
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Just to say, Dorothy, that when you helped me with feedback on my writing, your comments were utterly and completely brilliant. So insightful and helpful. So your friend is very lucky to have you reading her work, I think! And I love the thought of a novel influenced by both Virginia Woolf and Nicholson Baker! Woolf would have appreciated that, I think!
I expect your comments on your friend’s novel are both clear and insightful. She would not have asked you to read and comment if she didn’t value your reading skills and your opinion.
Your book sounds like it would be good if you ever wrote it. I especially like that it will have long sentences.
I first read Frankenstein last semester and I absolutely loved it (although I have a theory about the monster that didn’t fly well in class). And I agree with Stefanie–I like the idea of long sentences (perhaps with a lot of semi-colons? I do so love the semi-colon). 🙂
I had a feeling your book might just be on the experimental side. 🙂 It sounds like something I would pick up and read!–Definitely more fun to think about than attempt to do. And I’m sure your comments will be helpful to your friend who’s writing a book! Your posts are always very thoughtful, so I am sure your comments will be, too!
And now you know what it’s like to make your living as an editor, not for the faint of heart, I’ve decided (but it’s very similar to what I imagine making your living as a professor — or any teacher — is like). And now that you’ve played “editor,” why don’t you try your hand at “novelist?” That books sounds anything BUT boring to me! Oh, and one last thing: it’s a mark of your great kindness that you tell those you’ve tagged that it’s fine by you if they don’t take on the meme (but I will, because it seems like fun).
Write the novel. I’ll read it. 🙂
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I am enjoying the various versions of this meme as it spreads. There are so many of us who think of writing a book but so little time to think it out.
I like number 5. Long sentences are nice. I look forward to your book. Write it soon. I will wait. Thanks again. Interesting list.