Saturday, June 8, 2013

"Whatcha got ain't nothin new. This country's hard on people, you can't stop what's coming, it ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

This is an exciting post for me.  I'm writing it with a new keyboard.  My office/studio is set up in a tight 'U' shape which requires me to use a wireless setup for keyboard/mouse.  I've been using a Logitech product that reminds me of the Saab 900 I owned for a few months in 1999.  It was funny looking, comfortable, and I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't work.

Today I replaced it with the Taurus of wireless keyboards, the Microsoft 3000.  Nothing fancy, just a straight up QWERTY that's sized to my fingers, angled perfectly for my lap, and has a palm rest that, while redundant when working at a desk, fills and important role when working reclined in an old desk chair.

I was going to write about Cormac McCarthy today because yesterday I watched a video of his interview with Oprah Winfrey and was very impressed.  I'm familiar with some of his work, but not all.  I'd have read more, but I found The Road so depressing that I haven't gone back.  Not everyone had that experience and it was really a remarkable tale.  I read it in about a day and half, if that's any indication of his skill.

I just realized that my two thoughts are running parallel.  (The second being why QWERTY is the perfect layout for a creative author even if it is a slower keyboard.)  What you will notice, if you read McCarthy, is that his prose is not complicated, his characters are.  In many ways, his writing reminds me of Robert Cormier - it is incredibly deep and accessible to to nearly all ages.  You never find yourself reaching for a dictionary to discover that the house is a "faded red" or the man looks "old".  He tells you the house is red.  Even if there are ten houses that are red we don't see ten different words for red.  Of course we don't see 10 red houses, he's too good of a story teller for that.

Our lesson is to not be lazy.  Don't hid behind big words or creative twists.  Those are the special effects of prose.  You need a straight and clearly plotted story arc that is followed by complicated characters that are doing things.  Don't take the easy way out.  Slow your fingers down - use the QWERTY, it's fast enough to capture good ideas, and then make your words count.  Events are important, sure - but we don't care about the events, only the effect they have on the characters.

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there, does it still make a sound?  I think so (you may not), but, really, do we care?  Of course not.  Your character, hearing the tree, and his action showing what hearing that tree means - that's the heart of the story.

No comments:

Post a Comment