Monday, September 18, 2006

Shotgun house

In my fiction I've been working on slowing down and observing all details in every scene, in every piece of the scene. I've thought of a metaphor that helps me do this. It's the shotgun house, the signature architectural style of New Orleans. Its key feature is that there's no hallway. The rooms are all in line, one after the other; so in order to get from the front of the house to the back, you have to go through every room. There's zero privacy but it's a great community builder, or so they say. Anyway that's what fiction writing is like. You can't just trot through the hallway to get where you want to go. You have to go through every room. That means you build every room, and see everything in every room, before you can move on to the next one. There could be such a thing as overdoing the details if you actually wrote out all this description in your final draft--but you do have to write it out at some point, and take out the extraneous stuff later.

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