Monday, May 02, 2011

Gerard Donovan's Debut Book and What I Call "Screen Circumcision"

What happens when your first novel is gently criticised for being religious and conservative and also about a rash of sex assaults in Dublin, Ireland? Gerard Donovan's debut novel is about all these and more and a reviewer writes that the story is "Marred by its telling." I do understand.

Understand the author's perspective. He spends days and months and years putting together a novel for a critic to demolish it in a few words. How inconsiderate! As a writer I feel apprehensive. That what makes me defensive about my work. If anyone demolishes my work (on which I am working at present)... well... beware! Don't tell me I didn't warn you.

My novel is in its third edit. I guess writing on a laptop has its disadvantages. You get what I may call "screen circumcision". I mean the precedent and the aftermath is hidden when you are concentrating on 780 by 40 pixels which is what a standard laptop screen is in most cases. You get astigmatism of a digital sort as you can't go back and forth. Your mind is blind to a little wandering and cross checking of events.

All this you realise when you take a print out of your novel. Ah! There are glaring mistakes there and you set out to correct and edit. Which is what I am doing now, with the printed pages of my novel. Writer's need to beware of "screen circumcision" which is a dangerous thing for a short story or a longer version of it.

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