Operation Concrete

Taking risks with my writing, I’ve thought about this a few times but Mark's recent post over at his excellent blog – Voice of your muse – has inspired me to blog about the subject.

Ever since man has been able to constructively put pen to paper it’s caused everything from quiet bickering to full scale global wars. There are a couple of very famous books that have done this successfully for millennia now, namely the Bible and the Koran. Interpretations through to instinct, deep theological study to a simple flick of a few pages, their words have undoubtedly caused a few problems for humanity over the years.

Fiction? More than likely…Art? Not so much…but it’s the art that I’m talking about here. Whether you believe that the bible was written by a simple man with a lot of time and a wicked sense of humour or by religious types across time, I wouldn’t classify it as an art form, it’s a book of faith, and that’s something completely different. A rebours

With art I believe strongly that you have to push the boundaries, you have to be dogmatic and play devils advocate, you have to push the limits of your readers and do it in a fine way, just enough to rile them, not quite enough to make them switch off.

Some of the greatest books I’ve read have been products of subversive and deviant trains of thought, from 1984 to the picture of Dorian Grey, À rebours and even the likes of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. They took the parameters of a reality that we can associate ourselves with, how ever small, and pushed them into something often full of horror. Light and good a distant thought, and they make your skin crawl and teeth grind, until without even realising it, you finish reading and your palms are sweaty and your jaw hurts.

1984I’ve got my own instances in my current and first novel. The basic premise of the book is to explain away any sort of God, whilst being able to retain fatalistic beliefs. It’s a path of self exploration and I believe that it will rile a few feathers here and there. I’m not talking Salman Rushdie Fatwa sort of provocation, but just enough to cause a little hate from a dark corner here and there.

There’s rage, hate, rape, sickness, violence, demon like fury, deception, greed and pity, the want and need for destruction and suffering on the grandest of scales, and it all culminates by shrewdly showing that as a race, we’re not pretty. Not in the slightest.

Though, I don’t want to push my boundaries too far, I’m not in the market to repulse people, I want to tell a good story that cause a reaction, but not for the sake of creating a reaction. I’m no Chuck Palahniuk, there’s a time and a place for that sort of writing, and it’s not within me at the moment.

Pain But isn’t this all common sense, don’t we all write to create a reaction? There’s writing because it’s enjoyable, because as a writer you feel it inside yourself, the words want to escape, but just like there’s no such thing as the true altruistic act, I think, there’s no such thing as a writer who doesn’t want their writing read, and for it on some level, to create a reaction. Whether it’s kicking dust in the eyes of the reader or making a child smile, everyone wants something, we have to go out on a limb to do it more often than not, but like I said, it’s a difficult line to walk. So, writing can be a risky business, but we embrace the risk because we think, we know, that it will create a reaction, and in that we’ve provoked a thought in another human. Which is a wonderful feeling.

I’ll be interested in hearing how much you want people to react to your work, and if you’ve gone out of your way to make this happen, or if you believe it will be a by product. Or, even more so if you don’t think you’ve thought about it that way at all.

This posts Aspirers mark goes to Jen of JenWriter a self confessed nerd and aspiring novelist. A great little blog, one of her recent posts hit home with me, Slacker is Me. As you may have noticed, I’ve not blogged in a while, this is due to multiple reasons, a holiday to Budapest stationary at the core of those. But it’s been good, I’ve come back with fire and drive and I’m ready to finish the novel now. I hope Jen manages to settle back into her routine, I know how difficult it can be after a break. Get over had a read and give her some hints if you have any!

With thanks to Yoan Bernabeu for the 1984 image