We’re up! Have a look through and enjoy the new art and writing!
Author intent is an interesting thing. When it comes to an academic approach to literature, it is essential to account for time, place, location, and political affiliation. Possibly their preferred cocktail. But intent? There are, of course, opinion pieces and persuasion pieces and vicious critics. But when we move into the realm of fiction, author intent may not be as important as some make it out to be.
People construct meaning around fiction. Fiction both mirrors and satires and glorifies every day life. People can imagine themselves as far more complex, or a bit simpler, and can make parallels between the fictional and factual. Just look at superhero fiction. There is a well established correlation between the generational big scare and how we imagine our superheroes. Spiderman’s spider moving from radioactive to genetically modified to carrying some sort of pseudo science viral vector. We aren’t obsessing over nuclear power as much, but we can now manipulate the literal instructions for existence. I can’t wait to see what lab grown meat is going to do.
So life and fiction are related. But when it comes to making those connections, does it matter if the author intended that those blue curtains symbolized depression? Or that one character was meant to distract the reader’s sympathies? Maybe what the reader draws from fiction is all that matters. The individual experience of the novel. But I am really not sure. Thoughts?
There is a pretty good chance you have heard of NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month, the notorious frenzy of word count and caffeine driving several creative writers up and past the breaking point. There are several interesting arguments in this event, garnering over 200,000 participants last year. But I digress. What is NaNoWriMo?
Writers of all varied experience come together and take the month of November to write a novel. Well, a draft anyway. 30 days for 50,000 words comes out to 1667 words a day. Could you do it?
Now I may be in a minority when it comes to the event, in that I am skeptical. I don’t see how anyone other than James Patterson could put out a usable draft in that amount of time. I know that after Day 10 and a blurred computer screen I would just end up with a manuscript straight out of The Shining, the same phrase repeated over and over and over. Editing in itself is a huge undertaking, but rather cathartic after the initial internal protest, and that isn’t made any easier by taking 50,000+ haphazard word clusters and trying to make something that is useful.
However, I will admit the benefits to NaNoWriMo. It gets you writing. There is a structure, a set word limit, a goal for each day. Each time you meet your wordcount is its own celebration. You know that I could use that kind of motivation. And then there is the community, online and IRL, people staying up together and the only sound being the frantic clacking of the laptop keys. There is something to be said for the solidarity. It is only you and your fellow writers tackling the challenge and overcoming it. Now that may be a bit Walt Disney, but from what I’ve seen, holds true in a lot of cases.
Can a novel be written in a month? Maybe. But I would have to have 20 pages of outline beforehand and that may be against the rules.
A test post.
“I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.” -Hamlet