Friday, October 3, 2014

64 x 55 (The Path of Least Resistance)

The path of least resistance is simply to start writing and wait to see what will turn up on the page. No predetermined concept, no outline, no formal boundaries to work within or push against; just the words as they arrive, lining themselves up obediently and without apparent resentment, moving forward across the page toward whatever fate their Creator has in mind for them.

Process Reflection: It's a Friday night, the end of a busy day and a busy week. It's earlyish (6:55) and I mostly wanted to get something posted tonight so I could go back and sink into The Secret Place for the rest of the evening. I'm becoming a big fan of Tana French. One of the things that I like about her mysteries is that they tend to undercut the predominant generic characterization of the detective who is always one step ahead of the perps, not to mention ahead of the reader. The scenarios she describes inevitably turn out to be messier and more hazardous to the mental and emotional well-being of her protagonists than they have any reason to anticipate that they will be. The detectives often go in thinking that the case in front of them will be a piece of cake. But it never is. Complications abound. She's also good—better than good, actually, more like amazing—at setting up scenes where two smart and crafty people (detective and detective, detective and suspect, detective and witness, suspect and suspect, etc) are working on other, trying to dope each other out and/or fake each other out. In these encounters both sides have a lot at stake, both are concealing more than they are revealing, and there's the ever-present risk of screwing up badly. A large proportion of each of her books consists of crackling good dialogue in just such scenarios, often very funny. Her books also engage a lot of other quite serious issues (gender relations, class conflict, career politics, identity politics, family dynamics) in ways that are entertaining and instructive. So you get some quotient of redeeming social value to go along with getting drunk on words. So yeah, for my post tonight I took the path of least resistance. Heading back to The Secret Place.

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