Who Was That Plot In The Mirror?

March 28th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We have tried it every way: clueless, exacting, stumbling in the darkness, thoughtful but wary, index cards in meaningful colors, wing and a prayer. Yes, plotting is the ultimate personality exercise. We admire those who work through a book with soldier-like precision; we cannot draw a straight line with a ruler. For us, the story is revealed from various angles. Sometimes we find the end first (yes, the joy of that scenario!), sometimes it’s an opening line. Mostly it’s a moment in the middle. The moment in the middle.

Nicole Krauss, starting the buzz for A History of Love a bit early (book not released until the end of May; is this what they call marketing strategy?), falls into our camp. Of course, she puts it in more coherent terms:

“The book took me about two years to write and for at least the first year of that I had no plot. At first I had Leo’s voice, and Alma’s, and a little bit of Litvinoff’s. I had no idea how the stories of the characters fitted together, but somehow I sensed they did. Many, many times I really felt, ‘This is impossible, this book isn’t going to work.’ But I do think there’s something that can be said for instincts that you can’t articulate, and I trusted in some deep way that it was going to make a novel.

“It was like making music, where you have a certain melody, and then think, ‘Maybe I’ll just harmonise with that line,’ and then, ‘Maybe I’ll echo that later.’ Then somehow the whole thing has a sense of being held together, just by all the many small echoes and harmonies.”

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