Circles, Anecdotes, Themes and Fire

It would be wrong to say all things are circular, but it is interesting how the narrative can often nuance its starting point as one ties the ends up. Endings, like beginnings, are really vital ingredients and so hard to pitch exactly right. What do I hope my reader will feel here? Does the weight of the last paragraph leave us in mid air, bring us down to earth with a thump, or just miss the point entirely?

 This week as I have contemplated the ending of my story/ novel, I have been surprised as I moved the pieces of the jigsaw around slightly, how the time element suddenly made more chronological sense. Why did that not seem obvious before? How an automatic reflection upon an earlier part of the story seemed to take over and gave me another thread to sew with. I touched the primary characters again and hopefully they will touch my reader.

I know I mess around with time in my stories, I shift and vary, but this is a conscious decision, is worked out and not a random action. Hence a great deal of thought is involved and time spent in searching for what one hopes is a viable and credible end product.

Intense scrutiny into the completed draft is an arduous, but essential part of the creative process and actually releases some new ideas. That, of course, produces more reflection and inevitably more work. When I say, ‘completed draft, ’I do not mean the finished item, but it is getting there, thanks to those ever increasing circles which force me to meet my characters again and think about their raison d’etre.        

Anecdotes. They attach themselves, not quite as many coloured patches, but rather in the way one lengthens a dart, refining a point and hopefully streamlining the effect. If by some lucky chance this enhances the angle, pace and emotion of the words then craft has gone some way to creating a little  art in the narrative. We live in hope!

Thematic or formulaic?  On analysis, which is inevitable as one reads through and reads through again, themes as opposed to formulas crop up in my work. Water themes, mystical themes, themes of juxtaposition and abstracted landscape.They occur out of my imagination and I work with them, or discard them if they do not seem right. Oh! And sometimes a dash of alienation.

I do not plan in great detail, but I analyse and work in great detail.  That is just my way and a definite pattern emerges. When the knitting, patching and darting start to be necessary that pattern is hopefully made clearer and more resonant by its complexity.

The words wake me up late at night and the next part of the tale begins to take shape. I do not have a pen and paper beside me, but let the ideas fester and a version of those ideas will come to mind, if I am lucky, when I begin to write. And of course one thing leads to another, sometimes usefully, sometimes not.

At times the words rush round in those ever increasing circles I mentioned earlier and I am pleased when I wash my hair which seems to purge the demons.

We all have our versions of the ‘how’ we create I wonder what some of yours are?

Well what about the element of fire ? I have pots in the kiln and anticipate opening it tomorrow morning. If all is sound I will smoke fire the porcelain at some point and hope the shapes and patterning enhance the form.

Jenny Dunbar

ParaDon Books Publishing

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