The narrative boat

There’e2’80’99s an articulate essay on the art of editing over on M. J. Rose’e2’80’99s page, do take a look.

At the moment, however, I’e2’80’99m more concerned with the raw material that will eventually go under the editorial pencils. Yesterday I was working along as usual, paddling my little boat of narrative laboriously through the shallows where all the snags and sand bars lie, when without warning the stream took me and carried me smoothly down a couple thousand words, gently depositing me back at the edges at the end of the afternoon. A writer lives for those stretches of ease, where the most she has to do is dip her paddle in to keep the boat pointing in the right direction.

The entire trip can’e2’80’99t be made in the center of the stream, of course, and there’e2’80’99s plenty of hard slog ahead. But hey, it’e2’80’99s great for the upper body musculature, and it makes the easy bits all the sweeter.

Posted in


  1. Anonymous on January 23, 2006 at 3:56 pm

    I am *still* mulling over 1920s events which would have resonance with today’s US folks, and I rather belatedly realized that good old Mespot as the Brits used to say (or at least the ones in Agatha Christie) could be timely today, to say the least. And then I thought, gee, wouldn’t it be great if someone, if only in an aside, could mention meeting two Brits in Mesopotamia or Palestine, who dressed up as Arabs, and by Jove could pass for being them, with the language and all. Odd chaps, what?

  2. Anonymous on January 26, 2006 at 11:08 pm

    Laurie – I can only exhult with you in the enjoyment of those smooth narrative waters. The trick is paddling far enough into the stream … the hard slogging … in order to get to that swiftly moving water that flows so strongly and intuitively. It is like birds riding the thermals … lovely to see, and undoubtedly even more wonderful for the drifting bird. I’m delighted to hear of your progress. Iris Lady

  3. Anonymous on January 27, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    Three Men in a Boat, anyone?

Leave a Comment