Friday, August 11, 2006

the wisdom of Mark Leyner

Blame my buddy Dr. Steve for getting me hooked on the over-the-top writings of Mark Leyner. My brain is empty right now-- I can't think of anything interesting to say-- so let me quote a bit from a interview with Leyner. The quote shows a fascinating, almost fractalized take on what a novel is:

[in reference to his first "real" novel, The Tetherballs of Bougainville] But this is the first time that I've done something in which the playfulness of the macrostructure is equal to the playfulness of the microstructure. That's why I like to say it's my first novel, because in a way, that's what a novel is: a book that's as interesting in its overarching structure as it is sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph.

I can't recall exactly how he wrote it, but one of my favorite writers in the fantasy genre, Stephen R. Donaldson, said in the preface of his short story collection Daughter of Regals that short stories require one to choose one's words carefully, whereas with novels, the author has the luxury of throwing words at you until something sticks. This is partially true, but Donaldson's own novels are fairly intricately crafted works, which makes me wonder whether he believes what he's saying.


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