This weekend I finished Richard Flanagan´s ´Death of a River Guide´. Flanagan is one of my favourite authors and possibly my favourite Australian writer. This book was his first fiction book and is a pretty impressive debut. Landscape plays an important role in any story and Flanagan has this ability to paint Tasmania, where most of his books are set, in this eden like light. Lush, green, but also captivating and mysterious.
´Death of a River Guide´ touches on elements of Magic Realism which is a passion of mine.
My characters are developing and I am looking for little kooky traits that would suit their personalities. It´s quite interesting brainstorming habits, vices and obssesions for them and makes me think alot about human behaviour. How does the ex smoker react to a whiff of smoke floating from a next door office or the control freak comes to grips with a series of poor decisions they haven´t been able to remedy?
I´ve also decided to aim for a novel of 85,000 words. It was never my intention to write some epic saga that runs through reams of print, but to have a contained story with a hell of a punch. It´s a great feeling to be able to look at my own word count and plot it against my goal. It makes me feel like I am in control of the book more than it is of me. ( not a control freak!)
I am aiming for an equally sized beginning and end ( 15,000 words each) and the bulk (55,000 - if you´re not good at maths ) for the muddle / middle.
Chipping away at this project, I have written bits from all parts. I think this is another good strategy as if I am bored, lost or frustrated with a character or situation - I can just move to another part, pick up the baton and run. The only downside to this might be a lot more editing at the end, but I am expecting a fair bit anyway.
With that said, it´s back to the story.