Italy-book finished!

Four weeks, and we have about 150 pages!

It’s been a fantastic journey through the 18 hundreds and the two old friends, the artist and the family father, and their friendship since boyhood and long into old age.

We ended up with three distinct parts, first with their 30s and 40s as a period of a young adult life with a growing family and authorship, and then about a decade with the artist/writer in Venice, and the family man/adventurer in America. In the last part they’re back in their home town, in a more sunny and tranquil part of their lives, but still full of life and energy.

We’ll let the finished draft rest now for a few weeks, the edit and revise.

Immediate thoughts about the project:

The Venice part is one of the most pleasant we’ve written, ever. Pure bliss, beauty, and a more visual and auditive part of the book. Experimenting with similes of sounds, and the repeating theme of a string quartet in part to symbolize the timelessness of music, and to some extent life in older, beautiful cities.

The old part of their lives ended up a lot more bright and energetic than planned. In the opening of the book, when they meet each other in a square as eighty year olds, it might seem like their life is “over” and they are only reminiscing a lived life, but in the last chapter, the framing has changed. This is one of the beauties of the writing process. After 150 pages you know their story and have lived through their lives, and know the people in your book a lot better. And the adjusted ending leaves the book on more of a high note.

Having a backdrop of real history is both a great help for a natural progression and drive in the book, but it could be tricky to find the right balance. In this case there is a gradual argument that the good life is more in the world that you create for yourself, as time goes on. Exemplified in this book as an artist’s life work, or a family man with his children and grand children.

Some chapters are more artistic than others. Sometimes there are things to be explained and described for the progress of the story, other chapters become pure poetic bubbles for their own value, but also to illustrate contrasts in life.

More thoughts later, thanks for reading!

:))

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Sentences.

While waiting for more feedback on the novel draft we did a little exercise today, trying to use three different styles on the same substance. A couple is entering an adventure on an island. First short, then medium, then (very) long sentences:

Short ones.

He looked. Fresh water. The boat gliding. He saw the islands.
“Look.” he said.
She turned around. In the deck chair.
There, far ahead. They were getting closer.
“I love you.” she whispered.
A slight breeze passed.
The beach was appearing. Slowly.
They both smiled.
It was about to begin.

Then medium:

As they entered the beach, they could feel the soft and golden sands under their feet. He felt an incredible joy inside. Finally they were here, and the adventure could begin.
He looked at her, as she had closed her eyes and turned her head up towards the skies. She was adjusting and absorbing the air and the feeling of the island. All around them was blinking seas with shimmers of sunlight. And in the middle of the island they could see a distant mountain top.
Around the beach in a half open circle, there were big palms with coconuts. They both felt like they were entering a new world. “This is it,” he smiled to her. “We finally made it.”

Then long ones:

For him there was a subtle feeling of the sand grains on the beach carefully amassing in little formations underneath his feet, that was like a little stroke of a landscape taking shape in the earlier stages of the continents in their infancy and the early fragile years on the planet, at first untouched but slowly and through the forces of nature gradually being molded into their kaleidoscope of terrains and scars after movements and fractures, and then with the passing of times and shifting climates of deep frost, intense heat, the growth of green nature onto the surfaces, until one day seeing the grace of a tiny flower in yellow and pink, blossoming under the sun.
He turned around and smiled at her. She looked back with her eyes shimmering like the seas around them, softly and loving. She then looked down at her feet, and at the golden sands with some new footsteps in them behind her, the markings of a new arrival that would soon be vanished by the winds, as an instant that never seemed to have happened in the long remembrance of the beach, with no deeper impressions but merely just a fleeting touch, and then a soft wind of oblivion and nothingness.
“I’ve dreamt about this,” she said slowly with a voice of contrast and expectation, as the scene of the beach as an element of her imagination and now the reality of the senses were merging into one single sensation of experience, and one of a growing delight and sensitivity that soon would disentangle a withdrawn tension within her, and liberate a new feeling of awareness of the lightness around her.

..

Reflections: It’s very hard to compare such different styles in terms of reading. In part it would be a stylistic choice of the writer, and maybe the style should follow the content, or the mood. But somehow in the longer term, the longer sentences might be more interesting to read several times, as they contain so much more depth, feeling and emotion, and reflection, and hidden substance in the layers of the language. But it is very demanding to read.

As for writing, the longer ones takes so much more time, and energy. The quicker ones are more exciting. And maybe the medium ones are the practical choice to tell a story with some deeper parts to it, but keeping a certain momentum.

But still, it’s probably just the long ones.. that bears repeating many times, and still gives a new experience.