Tag Archive | Bret Easton Ellis

To cut a long story short ( the art of the novel )

” What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take ? ” is one of my favourite quotes from Jack Kerouac, especially at times of uncertainty, when I’ve been procrastinating  or simply struggling to make a decision.

I remember putting this quote once on a social network and many people  said they couldn’t understand it. I thought it was  abundantly clear. Trouble is, many people want everything explained to them.

It reminds me of this wonderful quote in ” The little prince ” by Antoine de Saint – Exupéry : ” Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them. ”

It is the same for books, songs, poems which some people tend to over analyse, sometimes competing with others because they feel they’re the ones who’ve broken some code.

Either you get it or you don’t. When I hear a song or read a book, it has to talk to me, provoke some reaction. Sure over time, a song or a book might take a different meaning, another dimension, especially as you grow up, mature and experience the many adventures and lessons life throws your way.

I’m not one to deliberately write with fancy words. People often comment that I write from the heart which I consider to be a huge compliment. I am a very instinctive writer and when I do rewrite and edit, it’s never  in a quest of  finding  words that will make me appear intelligent or sophisticated.

Recently, I was reading an interview of Brett Easton Ellis in which he explains his frustration at having to explain , justify what he tweets.

He also made this comment : talking about technology : “There are some tweets out there that say what needs to be said in about 140 characters, while certain writers who literally masturbate for 400 pages fail to say [it] as succinctly.”

This particular comment struck a chord with me. So it’s blunt and to the point, no explanations needed !

Such a shame I find when you read a book that sounded promising only to find it goes on and on. I’m left thinking why this is the case, why the excessively long and boring passages. Perhaps it’s to please the publishing industry ?

People often ask how many words should a novel have.

I find this question both absurd and impossible to answer. It is not the number of words that makes up a good novel but rather the plot, the characters and the emotion they convey. After all, that is all that matters surely ? Who cares how many words it took to write it, either it’s a good story or it isn’t, however long or short.

What do you think /

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.  ~Sylvia Plath

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Does size matter?

Julian Barnes won this year’s Booker prize with a book that was just 150 pages long.

What should we call it?” asked  in the Guardian.

Ah, here we go the heated debate of the novel vs novella. Don’t forget word count! I see so many writers focus on this and broadcasting their word count to the world. Nothing wrong with that but I fear some are somewhat distracted by some elusive goal they try  to achieve. Many times I’m asked how much is enough. Well, that rather depends.

Does size really matter? A great book doesn’t cease to be a great book because of its size. It may even make it better.
As an author I don’t pay too much attention to my wordcount. When the story is finished, it ends, full stop.
As a reader I’d much prefer read a short novel rather than one than goes on and on for the sake of it.

To quote Brett Easton Ellis talking about technology : “There are some tweets out there that say what needs to be said in about 140 characters, while certain writers who literally masturbate for 400 pages fail to say [it] as succinctly.”
In France they don’t make such distinction, a novel is a “roman” whatever its size and I think it’s a much better way to look at it.