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Structuring a novel

Well, that was unexpected.

I’ve got so much stuff for the 17th century novel, and am nearly up to the targeted research. Precise drilling-in on stuff I need. Hopefully that will happen in March.

What I’ve been doing during this last however-long is seeking my unifying elements. What kind of story I’m telling, What heart it has. I wanted to use emblem literature because it’s seriously cool, but my gut kept telling me that it wasn’t what I needed. It wasn’t unifying in the context of this novel. In fact, it would have split my story up into separated sections, and I’ve already done that (the novel will be out next year, and the sections are quite on purpose). I didn’t want that sort of sectioned novel. Shame about the emblem literature, but it didn’t work. Nor, it seemed did a thousand other things. This is one of the many reasons I read widely. Understanding comes from thinking and curiosity for me, not just waiting for inspiration.

One other novel did this to me: had a heart that needed a lot of thinking to pin down and one that gave me the narrative pattern when I finally found it. This was The Art of Effective Dreaming and the heart was a poem by Prevert.

Just now I worked out why my current earworm was my current earworm. Its structure is my structure. Its tone is the tone of my novel. The story in it is not my story – it’s that counterbalance between theme and chorus and the narrative pattern that I needed. I was most of the way there, but this codifies it and makes it easy to remember and work with I didn’t expect this one, however:

I hope Mr Minchin doesn’t mind.

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