clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Monday, January 14, 2013

Research Reading

I devoured The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat during the holidays. It's an older novel written after WWII. It dealt with the war in the North Atlantic and the lives of a few of the crew during the sixty-eight months of the campaign.

I learned a couple of tricks. None are really applicable to what I write or plan to write. Nevertheless, it was good to read with a critical eye. It was good to enjoy the story.

I selected this particular novel because I have a recurring long-form concept rolling in my head dealing with space combat. I know how things in space move. I even know how to get them to move together. Thus, the who practical end of space combat has always been an interest of mine and it boils over in this concept I cannot leave alone. I wanted to see how a story with the sea as an embodiment of the conflict played out.

This is all horrendously dull for you except that I recommend reading fiction written immediately after WWII and then reflecting on our current fiction forms. It is eye-opening.  Prose, action, conflict, theme, and even the horizon of the book's focus were different than I would have expected. I found the prose rewarding but the characterizations unsatisfying. It wasn't a case of the action overwhelming the more literary aspects of the story. It was a case of the characters being more two-dimensional then we less credentialed writers being allowed.

I enjoyed it. I learned. I recommend such an exercise to you.

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