Saturday, January 19, 2008

Inhabiting a story

There's an article on Peter Carey in today's Guardian which is pretty interesting. He has lived in New York for twenty years, but many of his novels are still set in Australia. Talking of Theft, he says:

"Having written Theft I realised I had much better memory for place than I thought," he explains. "And part of writing this book was about writing that place in Queensland. I'd break for lunch and I really felt I'd been inhabiting it all morning."
That's where we amateurs lose it. We've been having a discussion in Boot Camp about bland, vanilla voices recently. The problem is, I think, that we don't live those stories, we're just writing it abstractly, second-hand. Having written all morning, I doubt we would come away and say, as Carey does, that we'd been inhabiting that place all morning. It's a question of intensity, I guess.

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