My word I am battling with access to this blog. I’m away in Melbourne helping a friend pack his container for his retirement to the island.
He’s a nice guy but his way of packing is to pack things into a container, and close the door and call it done.
Which…. as many of the items he wants in are not naturally inclined to fit together in the closest possible packing… means he gets relatively little into a container. More than if he’d just left everything behind, but um… not anything like the most possible. What he’s packed is like the average novel. Mostly air with occasional objects.
Barbs and I have spent a lot of our lives packing to go away – or move house (the life of an Ichthyologist is fraught with poverty and moving jobs. A bit like writing really, you’d think I’d learn… And a lot of the time it has been pack and move ourselves, and fit as much as possible into small vehicles. You learn, if you have the talent, to look at what you have to pack and how you can fit various bits into the spaces. And to look at a space and work out how, by twisting that recliner through multi-demensional space you can make it fit, to occupy that bit of space best. It’s 3 D Tetris with irregular shapes.
That increases the number of items vastly and excludes most of the air. It’s still the same container.
It’s a character trait. It spills into your writing. If you gave the same scene to my regular co-authors and I, I know mine would be a 1/3 the length of one, and 2/3 of the other. It’s not always a strength, of course, but it does make for fast paced books with a lot in them.
It gets worse of course because I cannot resist packing IN things. If a cupboard or a dishwasher has to go… it’s full. And if it is full of glasses say, each glass has smaller items in it. Like nested Russian dolls but with disparate items.
It takes me a lot longer to pack than it takes my friend. But I can pack so much that there is almost no air. And if you unpack hastily… there is a reasonable chance of missing 2/3 of the stuff which is IN the bigger items, and the items that are in them. Which is something I can’t help doing… whether cooking or writing or packing…
I like it. Love discovering authors who do this. It’s obviously not everyone’s cup of tea. So how about you? Do you do this? Do you like reading it. Do you know authors who do it well?
(I will try to reply, but it’s difficult.)