Saturday, April 03, 2010

Some nice comments on The Drowning

I'm starting to get some good critical feedback from the first draft... thank you very much. Especially nice to have the very successful Jenny Woolf call the writing "brilliant" and "accomplished".

She asked me soe questions in her email and as they're very interesting it's worth posting some of my responses:

Influences: Alan Garner began as an influence - I remember vividly re-reading The Owl Service (set nearby) when I moved here and admiring again his sparse style, but when I tried to read him again in preparation for writing this I found the style too old fashioned. The influence in style came from more a MEMORY of him, but also a touch of Cormac McCarthy and a beautiful classic of ornithological writing - The Peregrine by J A Baker which is absolutely extraordinary in the number of different ways he finds to describe, say, a bird flying, with powerful observation. This is the first time I've set a book in a place where I live, and I did a lot of exploring and photography and talking to people.

Publisher: I have no publisher as yet. A Welsh publisher, Seren, has expressed interest, but they have little reach outside Wales unfortunately. Seren has an interesting new series updating/reinterpreting Welsh myths.

Structure: I'd pictured the opening as curling into the narrative. You see Gary, then Bryn, then Gary again. You realise both are victims in their own way, though Bryn only of Gary. So, why? Gary is the character with the furthest development arc to travel. You follow Gary through the storm, and its aftermath until he is forced into the company of Bryn on the run and the core story begins.

Bryn and Gary represent polar opposites. One endures the other dies. But it's suggested that what the one who died represents is a quality that is really the more enduring. We've sacrificed so much and we will lose more, but it is nature that endures. The land outlives us and we are blinks in its eyes. Even the legends have life beyond us.

Gary's disability cannot be used as an excuse for his irresponsibility. That's what he learns.

The website: The Chance To Create team (see the credits page) stipulated a website in their grant conditions. You wouldn't believe what else - I have to give a seminar to tourism providers in the area about local legends and other novels set locally (there are quite a few - cf also the late great Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising series) to make the area an attractive literary destination! The things a writer has to do to earn a crust!

Anyway, I'm still buzzing from Jenny's comments!

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