Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Proof of the Padding

Somewhere in one of the volumes of his autobiography, Graham Greene expressed regret that he'd done one of his novels using six points of view, retrospectively thinking five was about the maximum a writer could use without muddying the story and perhaps even causing distraction.  With the obvious exception of Twain, Greene remains an author you have read closely and often.

In the WIP, Secrets of Casa Jocosa, you are at Chapter Seven and are already there are six points of view.  Your instinct is to go forth, adding points of view as they come to you because the story has become a synecdoche, a situation where by design there are numerous residents, all of whom have one or more secrets, thus does Casa Jocosa become the part of something is used to refer to a larger thing; an institution becomes representative for the entire human condition.  The secrets of the various characters assume a near-equal status to the characters.  True enough, you could have a few characters wandering about, outing some of the other characters, but it seems to you more dramatic and certainly more fun to see if you can't have the secrets emerge as the result of interactions among the characters.

There is such mischievous pleasure involved in tweaking real persons into characters for this particular story, then turning them loose as though they were wind-up toys, now crashing into walls, then crashing into one another.  One such individual combines two characters who represent differing period in your Hollywood days, another synecdoche in which Hollywood days represents your own whimsical immersion in the TV-film industry, of which you were once able to write on some resume or other, your most significant experience in the TV-film industry was using the Writers' Guild Credit Union to purchase a VW Beetle.  Budd Capelouto is your character's name, of whom another character is heard saying, "I knew him when he spelled his name with only one B."

As you noted a few days earlier, you may have stumbled on something primal with the notion of defining characters in terms of their secrets.  That observation may need to be filed under an earlier still observation that for each new story, regardless of length, you need to learn how to write all over again.

For the moment,pages are coming.  When they do, you look on and applaud.  When they don't, you need to scurry about looking for ways to make it happen.

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