Most of my writing of late has been dedicated to my workshop story, Autumn Festival. This one by far looks to be my best work, containing a protagonist that is round and dynamic and static characters that, while sometimes flat, have personalities that excite at every dialogue line. Upon completion it will be about ten pages, 1.5 space, times new roman. It’s certainly a contest contender, especially if it is entered in a character-centric competition.
Other writing ventures include starting my sci-fi story (which is exciting, I’ll be using a particular concept I’d been saving for years) and developing my writing style. Style is something I’ve been obsessed with. A magnificent obsession. I’m experimenting in blending poetry and prose into something readable for poets and non-poets, all the while I am a non-poet. My tests are in their infant stages, but upon completion the results will be beautiful.
My thinking is, words are time-consuming. Conversely, visual arts can be scanned at a glance: in seconds someone could peek at a picture, look away and tell a stranger what they saw. Words need to be read, one by one, and after the mental or verbal pronunciation of the words, meaning must be deciphered. Reading is certainly longer than looking at a painting. However, time spent reading can either be boring, or a roller coaster of fun. Reading word-to-word has a flow that isn’t immediately discernible, unless it is a poem using rhymes or a story with literary devices (alliteration, consonance, assonance, etc.). Many who listen to poetry delight in its rhymes and imagery, the words having an audible cadence short stories lack. My thinking is, if there is some way to combine the cadence and literary devices of poetry whilst telling a narrative, without following the line-by-line stanza format, I could create an enticing style that even a non-reader would delight in picking up to read.
“Love demands expression. It will not stay still, stay silent, be good, be modest, be seen and not heard, no. It will break out in tongues of praise, the high note that smashes the glass and spills the liquid. It is no conservationist love. It is a big game hunter and you are the game. A curse on this game. How can you stick at a game when the rules keep changing? I shall call myself Alice and play croquet with the flamingoes. In Wonderland everyone cheats and love is Wonderland isn’t it? Love makes the world go round. Love is blind. All you need is love. Nobody ever died of a broken heart. You’ll get over it. It’ll be different when we’re married. Think of the children. Time’s a great healer. Still waiting for Mr Right? Miss Right? and maybe all the little Rights?”
This idea isn’t new, but it also isn’t common or popular. Only in certain circles is it prominent. Namely, the literary fiction genre (AKA, the “genreless genre”). Jeanette Winterson is known for this poetry-prose style, she uses it in her book Written on The Body. Within the first couple of pages she has a barrage of words that utilize personification, anaphora, metaphors and more. Besides frequent usage of imagery and other literary devices, it contains narration like in a short story. Winterson manages to capture so many messages in a single paragraph, her writing is just plain fun to read.
If I could interview Winterson, I’d ask how long it took to craft this paragraph of hers, and what inspired her? How many rewrites did she have? Once I finish my workshop story and get it contest ready, I will be creating passages of a similar fashion. Of course, it’ll be done in my own style.