Blogged Out Ma Nut

Emoticoning but with letters.

White Teeth - Zadie Smith A short review: Gravity's Hounslow (might be too-high praise!)

A bit longer review: in another book of Smith's ([b:Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays|6425404|Changing My Mind Occasional Essays|Zadie Smith||6614734]) she defines two types of author- the micro manager and the macro planner. Micro managers like herself pore over details and labour over the first 20 pages or so of their books until they are as perfect as can be. During this time, she explains, micro managers have been planning the layout of the rest of the book without really acknowledging it. Macro planners, like me, have a general idea of beginning, end, and several key scenes, then write quickly and roughly to connect all the dots and get a first draft of their novel. What follows is lots of re-drafting of the whole novel, and macro planners might still make drastic changes, cutting and pasting like crazy.

Anyway, this explanation of Smith's writing really shows in [b:White Teeth|3711|White Teeth|Zadie Smith||7480], because she's not really aware of where it's heading. Instead of making the book seem fun and free, I found it aimless (possibly because of my own aversion to her writing methods, I don't know). And surprise of surprises- she didn't know how the book was going to end while she was writing it! Yeah, we picked up on that...

Well, that's just what some writers do. [a:Cormac McCarthy|4178|Cormac McCarthy|] is also quite happy to find out where his stories go as he writes them, but not me. Most of the time I'm looking for road markings or clues that can only come from a book where a writer is confidently guiding you towards a destination, and so long as you are reading micro manager's book, you'll never find them, and what with all that planning it still reads like the author spent most of their time rolling around on the floor. If you're happy to roll around with them, fine, otherwise macro planning all the way!

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