Thursday, 4 August 2011

Down at the Factory of the Imagination in July

Some might say all's not well down at the Factory of the Imagination, on account of there having only been 5,000 words added to Number Three novel this month, instead of the 10,000 target (see previous post).  And yet it feels as though I've written four times that amount ... at least.  Honest guv.

Let me assure you, the cogs have not been idle; there's been no strikes, no working-to-rule nor go-slows in this factory.  I've been labouring over a transition sequence from one main course of the story to the next, but it seems to have taken forever-and-a-day.

I was wondering how to explain this shortage of finished words, during a rare lunch break, and found myself wandering into the kitchen of the Works Canteen.

Cook was reducing a sauce, to serve with the day's speciality: Bœuf à la Métaphore.  To make the sauce, the carcasses of ten Aberdeen Anguses (grazed on a diet of organic grain, stout and whiskey) had been boiled in several casks of red wine to form a vat of rich broth, which, over a period of three days, was being reduced to the amount of two and a half cups.  Although I'm a vegetarian, and Cook likes to spit at me for this, I was assured that, so potently delicious is it, that a mere sniff of the finished sauce would instantly repair my damaged soul and convert me into a raging carnivore once more.

This, I realised, is what I'd been attempting to do with words across the last four weeks.  I'd write a few hundred, and then reduce those to fifteen or twenty, and then, on the following day, I'd further reduce them to seven or eight.  I'd struggle to dice in another couple of hundred words, but would then start stirring them around again, simmering over them, until only a thimbleful were left.  And so on and so on.  What feels like 40,000 words reduced to 5,000.

And there I have my excuse. My explanation.  Surely I deserve a bonus, instead of getting my pay docked?

Burnt gravy, anyone?

No comments: