6 November 2013

Making-Of as a Kind of Writing

Filed under: Fiction, Reflections — ktismatics @ 4:27 pm

Is there some way of blogging about my own fiction that doesn’t immediately cross over the event horizon into black-hole solipsism? I could emit the brayings of the self-promoter or the advice columnist, but I’m not in the mood for the one and I’m ill-equipped for the other. I don’t believe that I’d be trying to elicit advice from readers, or analysis, or critique, though of course like everyone else I’m often acting under the influence of motivating factors outside of my own awareness, and certainly I am as much an attention whore as the next guy.

Occasionally someone will ask me what I do. Sometimes there’s even a follow-up question: What are your books about? That’s always a stumper for me. Maybe some day, if I work through a self-reflexive reading of my own fictions, I can answer with aplomb and precision. Sure, I understand: most people who pose the question want me to name my genre or, at most, to give them a one-sentence summary, so writing blog posts in response is surely overkill. If I’m going to shop the books to agents/publishers I’ll have to come up with pithy and intriguing descriptions. But why craft these spiels in a public space, rather than in my private notebook? Maybe I imagine a fictional milieu in which the readers of the blog have asked me The Question and really want to know the answer, or want to discuss the possible alternative answers, even if it takes hours, days, weeks…

I could do a “making-of,” offering wry little observations about why I included this little detail in the text or made that particular wording decision. But why would anyone care about how something was made if they haven’t already seen what was made?

Ah to hell with it. I didn’t give much forethought to launching this blog in the first place, or to putting it on pause for the past few months. I’ve often thought that, if I saw the books I’ve written in the New Fiction section of the local bookstore, I would want to read them. So I’m going to do just that. Maybe I can make observations about them not just as writer but also as reader. In offering my remarks in a public forum I will need to take into account that practically no one who reads them will have read the books — a “making-of” without access to the “made.” So maybe I’ll need to use my already-written texts as “prompts” for exploring, and possibly discussing, matters that aren’t actually written in those texts, matters that might have wider import or interest.

I’ll start tomorrow, first novel, first chapter, and see how it goes.


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