Before I forget, I have been reading Tolkien’s letters which I thoroughly recommend to anybody who is a big Tolkien fan, as I am. I have been reading it on screen though which I don’t recommend.
It has made me think about e-books and whether they really will catch on. I am not (or haven’t been until now) one of those luddites who hold to the view that paper books are it and that e-books go against the grain of what a reader really wants – that sensual experience. but frankly I may change my mind. There really is something kinda (did you see what I did there?) anti-ceptic about reading on-screen. I don’t know what it is. I think in some way one feels that the computer is dictating terms in that it is ’emitting’ light and decides the format of the page as in fact the format of the page doesn’t normally seem to suit me on screen. I will have to investigate further but I just published one of my books as an e-book and I am wondering now if I should do this.
I also became involved in s discussion about writing erotic/sexual scenes in novels the other day. Personally I like books to have some erotic scenes in them because intimate scenes are often where we learn a lot more about a character’s true nature and I just like the sensuality too. Of course there are books which do not have sex in them that I like but there are only 3 that spring to mind: Lord of the Rings, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Bible. I wouldn’t aspire to write such a great book myself and it would have to be that great to appeal to everybody and therefore not really need any sex in it. Sex is just such a part of our daily lives that it is hard to see a story feeling ‘true’ without it. I don’t mean necessarily full-on sex either. I just mean that what drives most men, most of the time is sex and it is behind many of their actions.
Having said that one does have to be really writing it and I know some readers, especially women, do not like sex-scenes at all in books so there is an argument for leaving them out. I try to get help from a woman when writing such a scene so that it is sensitive to a woman’s sensibilities as well as men’s.
My really bad period of luck seems to be passing. It reminds me of something implied by Dante: you have to go through Hell to get to Heaven, although he put it much more graphically (and biologically).
Just as a note: I see that Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars – he played COL. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds. I tipped him in my post on 22 January.