The Art of Writing No.37

Today, I have released a novella called Through a Mirror Clear: a Gothic Love Storyas an ebook on Amazon Kindle. I thought it might be worth a little detail on how it came about.
I had made all the agreements with printers, typesetters and illustrator to ensure that Azimuth the paperback would come out on time and in reasonable nick, in fact a paperback with beauty and weight. Whilst I was waiting for Azimuth to be produced physically and before I began the long, hard road of marketing it, I decided to write a novella. I wanted to try something different, testing myself with a plot, characters and writing style far removed from the historical imagination of Azimuth.
The idea came to me when I was being introspective about my brain and my mind. Why was it that I experienced visions of people, events and environments that I had never encountered before, in daydreams? Where did they come from? Was my brain driving my mind to experience these events for some undisclosed purpose? This was heightened when an unknown beautiful woman reappeared a handful of times in my thoughts, I had the germ of a plot. The Cheshire Cat-like woman took me back to a poem I liked when young, Tennyson’s The Lady of Shallot. In it there is a mysterious, almost ghost-like woman who has probably inhabited my unconscious ever since first encountering her.
I had no idea about plot line other than finding a literary way of explaining her visitations. I invented a character – or at least one leapt to the screen – whom I named, as soon as the story permitted,  William Jethro Blake. Blake, as you may know, saw visions much as he saw other forms of reality. The Jethro element referred to Jethro Tull, the gardener.
My first ten or so chapters came off my keys in a strange, dislocated, haphazard fashion, rather as the visions did, themselves. In fact, iteratively, I had William (or he had me) musing on exactly this lack of cohesivness to the narrative:
The consequence was that he found himself interrogating his notebook’s words and phrases for a pattern of meaning but they would not cohere and make sentences and paragraphs. They remained obstinately asynchronous, discrete, islands unto themselves. The experience defied that essential human capacity to make sense out of partial information. He had run writing classes and given people exactly the kind of hotchpotch he was now staring at and they would come up with a wonderful variety of story threads, combining them all as if the words were polarized magnets and could twist and turn to clump together. No, here they were repelling each other and refusing any attempt at union.
I moved on to the second half of the novella, intent on drawing all this disparate information into one flow of sense, giving the story a punch-line such as I described in the last blog. It came to me. The ending and the reason why the first ten chapters were written the way they were. Alchemy took place in my unconscious and I opened a portal and let it out. Have trust in the imagination. Ah the brain and the mind, they are our tools but may become our straitjackets, if we treat them as servants.
Through a Mirror Clear: a Gothic Love Story by Eric le Sange on Kindle Amazon
Azimuth by Jack Sanger, in three separate volumes on Kindle Amazon
Azimuth, the trilogy, in beautifully produced paperback (and PDF)

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