I am trying to make sense of Traitor to the Cause. I have not ‘chaptered’ it even though it is a set of events in one persons’ life which will make a whole one day. I have now over 80,000 words, so today I will separate each event and create a separate file for them, it will make finding bits easier. I think it will all be in sequence even though I am writing it as if Vincent (the character) is looking through various boxes of photographs. So it may end up jumping all over the place. In sequence would make it easier for a reader, jumping all over the place more like Vincent sitting in his room just picking up a box. However (unlike me) Vincent keeps detailed records, anyway that is a problem to solve probably around this time next year when all the writing is completed.
Whilst pondering on this Oskar suddenly went mad outside, which usually means someone is at the gate and I have to go and save them from his totally manic jumping up at them. When I opened the kitchen door I saw this –
I had no idea the lamp-post bent over for checking. What seemed solid was not. Makes sense really, but made me think how important a sudden change in perception is in writing.
Wasn’t it Raymond Chandler who said if you are stuck in the plot have someone walk into a room with a gun. It is a good metaphor and one which I like about the books of Iris Murdoch. She used this technique where you would read about a group of people who would have relationships, develop their careers or families, have issues of faith both in God and politics, then suddenly an event would happen like the violent death in The Book and the Brotherhood, which calls into question all the characters’ beliefs and relationships. She uses her novels to investigate questions of moral philosophy, but whether it is this sort of novel or a sparse thriller the effect is the same. Sometimes we need to jerk the reader from what they think they know and expect.
In Traitor I am doing that by using a lot of real people amongst the stories (I will probably end up being sued if ever it is published I am sure). Hitchcock used this device in his films, it was how he disturbed the viewer, took them off guard.