This week: a story’s soul, Frankenstein and the Monster, Strunk & White: The Elements of Style
A Story’s Soul This week I have returned to another incomplete work, December Radio. The story is a sci-fi WWII whodunnit of sorts. So far I haven’t written a lthis although I have spent many hours thinkabouit it. The problem is that the story’s soul as I last envisaged it may be too obvious. The problem has been compounded by the recommendation by a friend, based on my description, to read Gravity’s Rainbow. I am on page 50 and so far I have very little idea what is going on; a British Agent is investigating V2 rockets amidst a chaotic kaleidoscope of disjointed feelings, weird characters and disparate locations. What is clear is that the main story is uncomfortably close to mine. A battle has begun for the soul of my story. Attack Hitler’s BunkWas was a simple story; men fighting against immense odds for Good. It’s soul was born without hiccups on page one. The Ordo Lupus series have their origins in my own private obsessions with the darker side of Religion and more specifically, Faith, God, the Devil and luck. However, both Escher’s Staircase and December Radio have been born of the nebulous (to quote William Shatner) inspiration of a relationshhip; they have neither a beginning or end when I start wItch think think the former title has now settled into a comfortable childhood but the latter may lack something to distinguish it from it’s distinguished competition. Once I have the soul, the story will tell me what to write. This probably probably sounds lkid whimsy and not a little bit pretentiousI, but I believe it! If a book doesn’t have a soul it can’t live.
The soul of a book can be as simple as a basic plot or it can be as elusive as Faith itself. I just need to try harder to find this story’s soul, and if you are struggling with a book, maybe you do too.
Frankenstein and the Monster
I couldn’t blog this week without mentioning the above film, last Frankenstein film by Hammer. It made a very average, if not poor, start but Peter Cushing was the reliable screen presence usual ways is. Those cheekbones never fail to impress and here his gaze bore into the cheap camera lens as if he is the mad doctor himself; willing the genre to succeed, and challenging you to forget him. I can easily forgive the crude jokes early on, the policeman falling into a grave, the local ‘Neanderthal’ who looks more like a gorilla; both are slapstick tools usually sexy seen in Carry On films, and the brain transplant is actually fairly convincing. David Hemming has since proved himself a talented actor and here he is very good. Mabeauties ties one of the great 60s beauties known for her wide-eyed innocence does well with almost no lines as the supposedly mute Angel. All in all it’s quite a point mix, and the film echoes Dickens in some cutting jibes at beaurocracy. Great fun. Watch it!
Strunk & White: The Elements of Style
I wanted to quickly mention this little book. If you write anything and want to be clear you need this. In a few pages they explain elements of grammar which have confused me for years.