Now – nudge, nudge, wink, wink – that you’ve read ‘Wood, Talc and Mr. J’, the book with the beguiling tag of ‘We never had it so good’, a tag which, I might add, was an afterthought, you may be interested to know that, as I write – pun intended – a sequel is on the way: ‘Nancy Boy’, with another alluring tag of ‘(for one year only…)’
And why a sequel?
Well, believe it or not, many readers have actually asked for one. Good news for them, then. On the other hand, I’ve endeavoured to distance myself from the first book as much as possible, structurally speaking, at least, for my own sake more than anything. I, along with many authors, I’m sure, am not content to stick with a particular style of hand – indeed with anything that may be considered conventional; you might say I’m always looking to try something different.
What, then, are those differences this time around?
Mmm, you may recall in previous posts some of my attempts to get inside Phillip Rowling’s mind, Phillip being our first-person narrator and protagonist of ‘Wood, Talc…’, who, looking back to his adolescence, employs the very conventional device of a simple past tense. This will no longer be the case regarding ‘Nancy Boy’, both the voice having shifted to third-person and the tense to present.
So, you’re effectively saying this is a new attempt to get into Phillip’s mind?
Yes and no. I hasten to point out that the easiest thing in the world when writing ‘Wood, Talc…’ would have been to consider myself and Phillip Rowlings one of the same person – debut novel, author writes autobiography, changes name, yadda yadda, that’s what they all do first time around! Which isn’t the case, but I’m never going to convince some people.
Okay, so you’re categoric, Phillip isn’t you. Shifting to third-person narrative, though, must surely provide better access to his mind? You’re still the author but you can now go where you like?
No, I’d never go there – okay, let’s never say never, but no, not for me. And although I’ve read many books throughout my life – mainly the classics, you know – I’ve honestly still never been an admirer of omniscient narration. I’m not saying it should be banned, I read Dickens every Christmas, and wholly discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald not that long ago. I learned to accept the mode somewhere along the way, if not altogether.
And think of the stories, and the beautiful language, you’d have missed out on, were you to have rejected those books!
Yes. And I haven’t. And wouldn’t. But then I’ll only ever accept it for what it is: an even bigger lie than some books.
So what do you mean exactly by third-person, in your case? After all, it doesn’t have to mean omniscience…
Correct, and nor is mine. What I’ve done, or tried to do, you might say, is taken a shot at something between the two – first and third-person narrative: that being, the novel’s narrated by Phillip’s subconscious.
What I strove to achieve in ‘Wood, Talc…’ was a sense of realism via, what I’ll term for this post, a mind-mosaic – remember the blurb for the book? Which states: “(it) progresses through myriad dream sequences, interwoven song-themes, a father’s philosophical ramblings, ever blackening wit, leitmotif – or seemingly recurring scenes; is someone laughing at our hero? And Phillip’s own, lyrical, strut-like, black or white manner.” I might add to that a whole stream of stream-of-consciousness, which I hoped might reflect the chaos of everyday life – particularly when we’re young!
I just don’t think enough books convey that, whilst I understand that they, books, require a certain structure, merely to be read. And besides, there’ve been numerous literary movements whose aim has been to readdress the balance somewhat, even some with the audacious and lofty ambition to recreate the novel… Not me, don’t worry…
Funny, nonetheless, returning to my other differing technical aspect, re-Nancy Boy, how only a change in lifestyles has brought about a shift in narrative structure for today’s author, as I see it at least. Have you noticed how more and more novels are now written in first-person?
Yesssssss, I have, actually, come to think of it. Why is that, do you think?
Well, I deem it, quite simply, to be a truer reflection of society today: that is, a faster pace of life requires a faster paced reading experience, which present tense affords by how it draws the reader in, by its sense of the immediate.
And there are many other techniques I might add to the above, specially with regard to my new book, but that’s all I want to say at this juncture, to inform the reader – with whom I usually communicate directly, until you came along – of my up-and-coming sequel to ‘Wood, Talc…’ you know, concerning the two new narrational aspects – and the very fact that, yes, I have a new novel coming soon in the first place!
May I ask you a question, by the way?
Of course, go ahead.
Who the Dickens are you?
Your subconscious, silly.
Aghhhhhhhhhh… Cheeky, hijacking my post like that. Would you sign off for me, then, please?
Of course. Until next time, then.
Your literary, soulful friend.