Thursday, January 14, 2010

14. Doing a run

The route was perfect, uphill all the way, but circuitous and secluded.

Kings Lane scurried between Riley and Thompson Streets. Honens’ Stairs was the final heft up from Kings Lane to Bourke Street, across this and through the narrowest part of the alley and you were hidden in behind the northern rampart of Darlinghurst Gaol. Dingy during the day, the rat runners diced with death with each evening sortie along Kings Lane. The ladies of the night were the least of their worries, they were all screech and too full of liquor to be a danger. No, it was the young ‘uns milling beside the high sandstone wall facing the grey hospital workings. Once they twigged to the illicit trade between the soldiers in the park barracks and the inmates at Darlinghurst, the young ‘uns wanted in.

However, the coppers from the Taylor Square nick, caught a whiff early on.


Vicki said...

A different voice again! This one has a real historic flavour – part language, part scene. Terrific.

Are you enjoying the challenge you've set yourself, Julie?

Julie said...

Know the comment "50 years of television or 1 year of television 50 times"? That is what I don't want to fall into.

I enjoy selecting the image and then sitting here staring at it. It is a bit like pulling a length of string out of my brain, it is all loops and curves, until suddenly out pops and end (or a beginning, in this case!).

Once I find that end - that kernel - then I get the sensation of someone in my head shoving the stuff out; I cannot get it onto the page fast enough. Both these stages are about 15 mins each.

Editing is the hardest stage: it is me crafting how I want this story to look, and what voice it uses. This is the adjective and verb stage that I have mentioned before. However, I will also move sentences around, or change a sentence to a clause. This is also where I determine the look of the piece. Take todays: single sentence, para, single sentence. I forced the story to look like that after I had written it.

There are so many stages that I want this to go through. So many voices that I want it to speak in.

Am I enjoying it?

Yep ...

Julie said...

Sorry ... another thing with today's story ...

The photograph is clean, kempt and modern. However, the steps are old and in a grimey part of town. My guess is these steps were before 1850. The gaol took its first inmates in 1842. Convicts dug Busby's Bore from Centennial Park to Hyde Park and finished in 1837. That traverses this general area, but underground.

I walked all along here and photographed the stairs in detail. The history just surrounded me. All I could see were urchins with scruffy trouser legs and dirty hands scrummaging through the gutters. So maybe the story was forming in my head as I wandered along, as is my want, in a daze of thinkings.

Vicki said...

I certainly know the phrase “Fifty years of television or one year of television fifty times,” and you’re so far from falling into the trap that I doubt that you can see it.

However, it’s something I worry about with my novels all the time. Yet, I want to retain the same voice, so that anyone picking up one of novels recognises the writing as Vicki Tyley.

Editing is the hardest stage, agreed. Your moving sentencing around until you like the look of it is what I think of as the rhythm of the story. And yes, using vivid verbs and concrete nouns usually works better than any adjective or adverb. But never say never.

So pleased to hear you’re enjoying writing, Julie. I look forward to seeing what else you come with.

“I turn sentences around. That's my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around. Then I look at it and I turn it around again. Then I have lunch. Then I come back in and write another sentence. Then I have tea and turn the new sentence around." – Philip Roth

Joan Elizabeth said...

Initially I thought the route was someone's jogging track then I realised we were talking history there not the present.

I actually rather like the editing process ... tightening things up, making the words work more precisely ... even it is just brochures and web pages :-)

Anonymous said...

Not only the words are goods the pictures are also fantastic.

freefalling said...

"they were all screech"
I like that bit.
(oh - that sounds like I don't like the other bits....)
I especially like that bit.