Sunday, May 24, 2009

Of Discoveries and Delights

I thoroughly enjoyed Stein On Writing by Sol Stein.  I should read more craft books!  He had this thing called "The Actors Studio Method," which pretty much consists of giving two character confrontational intentions (he calls them "scripts").  I know this sounds obvious, but when I wrote dialogue, I kind of just let it go naturally.  I have since learned for good dialogue (and conflict in general), the writer has to understand both characters equally in terms of what they want (they should want different things).

This is difficult because in writing a first-person story, it's so easy to get immersed in the MC's viewpoint that I take her side for everything.  I have to remember to spend some time with the other characters too, especially the villain, who is currently getting shunned.

Yesterday, I ventured to Borders and bought Un Lun Dun.  You must understand, this is a rare thing for me.  I don't buy books I haven't read.  I buy books I've read, loved, and intend to reread often.  Or I buy books by authors I've liked before.  But by total coincidence, one of the books on display in front was Coraline by Neil Gaiman.  And I remembered the reason I originally thought Un Lun Dun might be good was because it reminded me of Coraline. Naturally, I bought the latter too.  I can't believe I hadn't bought it earlier, because it's one of my favorite books.  A quiet favorite.  One I don't think of when you ask me, but I get a thrill of excitement every time I see it.

So, here is my shameless plug.  If you haven't read Coraline yet, you must.  I first read it a long time ago, in junior high.  I have since read it hundreds of times, and it is the only book (along with the Narnia series) that gets better with each new read.  You have to admit, most books are greatest the first time, when you have no idea what's coming.  I love this book so much, and I hate horror novels.  Yes, Coraline is a horror story.  "Charming" is the last word I'd ascribe to horror, but Coraline is charming.

I wasn't scared the first time I read it.  I'd call it creepy, but I didn't think it was scary.  I don't know what it is.  This is a book that doesn't scare children but terrifies adults.  I get more freaked out the more I read it.  Last night, I was sitting in bed reading it at 1 am, and I had to stop because I would give myself nightmares if I kept going.  I'm glad I finally get to add it to my bookshelf.  It's had a spot waiting for it a long time.

1 comment:

  1. Coraline, while not my favorite, is one of those books that I'm not likely to forget. It did spook me a little, mostly because I used to have scary hand dreams. But looking at the text itself, it's amazing. It reads, to me, like a dream that sometimes becomes a nightmare.