Reading the book I did not write

I’ve been so focused on the process of my own writing that it surprised me today when I began to question the methods of the writer I am currently reading. Every so often I would pause and wonder if that paragraph I had just read appeared in the first draft, whether that character was only fully formed during the final submission and if the use of language was as purposeful as intended.

The novel I am currently reading is epic – three major characters that span across three centuries with a thread that twists their lives together. I’d like to know how secure that initial thread was, or whether one character was invented with the specific intention to create a link between two others that perhaps appeared so naturally on the page. Which words were the ones that inspired and motivated and which were the ones that were laboured over, the author finally surrendering to that slight dissatisfaction that comes with imperfection that the reader will never know? What don’t I know about these characters that the author left out, what events occured that didn’t complement the story enough to be included? Which chapters were created with the muse as a willing accomplice and what scenes were the most difficult to write?

I suppose what I want to know are the secrets that wove the novel to completion.  Yet, as a reader I can never know the intracacies that will accompany the book I did not write, even if I am a writer myself.

 

 

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