Space in novels


Not a good writing day today. The day started with an early wake-up call from my hubby, who was getting ready to come home from night shift. I am not a morning person and normally crawl out of bed well after the sun has come up, but I had an early dentist appointment to finalise a root canal treatment. For the rest of the day I slept and stumbled around the house trying to find some kind of equilibrium. Tonight I’ve been downloading music. I heard In for the kill (La Roux) today on the radio and had to have it. The song makes me feel like I’m in a 1980s blue-light disco, which might be cringe-worthy for some, but leaves me with an easy nostalgia. Many of my firsts were in the 80’s, accompanied by the rhythmic styles of “Synthpop” – first real crush, first slow dance with a boy, first kiss . . . Thinking about the 80s gives me more than just a sense of nostalgia – I remember the mood, the ambiance, that special 80s attitude, the space the 80s occupied. Anyway, all this reminiscing eventually got me thinking about how to represent mood and atmosphere in novels. A novel’s characters have to occupy space.   Leonard J Davis in Resisting Novels: Ideology and fiction says that space in novels “must be more than just simply a backdrop”. They must have

“… dimensions and depth; they must have byways and back alleys; there must be open rooms and hidden places; dining rooms and locked drawers; there mus be a thickness and interiority to the mental constructions that constitue the novel’s space.¹

Novels ask so much of us, and creating space within a novel is one of the most complex tasks a novelist will understake. I have no answers today for this one since I’m still learning the process myself and I suspect it would take a lot more than a short post on a blog to explore the concept of space in novels. Food for thought . . .

¹Davis, Leonard J, 1987, Resisting Novels: Ideology and fiction, Routledge

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About Sharon

Writer, bibliophile, dreamer and student of everything
This entry was posted in ME ON WRITING, Novel elements and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Space in novels

  1. Nice to be in the company of a fellow 80s fan.

  2. vanyieck says:

    I feel the same way about the 80s. What a decade.

    Regarding space, that is an area of personal struggle. Coming from the tradition as a storyteller, the first priority has been to move the plot along. Writing demands more of a well rounded approach.

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