Prescience…

So…the reason for my relative silence has been, of course, work, and er, work, and er…the interview over on www.missbluestocking.wordpress.com and er, more work…and ah, blockage. 

Because having come to a segment of the novel which I have known had to be there from the very outset…that is to say, having got there, having got my character there as instructed by the muse or whoever is running this particular show, I had no idea whatsoever what I was meant to do with him there.  Or why he was there.  Or if I was being obsessed.  Or twee.  Or just plain fruity. 

So there I am, staring at this character in this room, about to meet with this other geezer, in Austria, and I have no idea what comes next. 

Which I find can stall the process.  To say the least.

So I sat there.  And sat there.  And took several long walks.  And listened to the second movement of the Fifth Symphony by Beethoven.  (Do not ask my why, for I haven’t the faintest…)

And I thought about the character I had got there–the boy from chapter one of Of Honest Fame–and what he’d been through to bring him to that point.  

And suddenly, I knew.  Why he was there.  What he was doing there.  What he’d been doing all along.  Suddenly, I knew.

And this is the wonderful thing about being a writer. 

For you see, I didn’t need to know before.  Not really.  I didn’t need to know everything about this character; I didn’t need to understand all his secrets.  Even though I may have thought I did.  

Because at the moment I did need to know something, there it was.  And it was better than I could have invented had I worked on it for weeks.  Because I just wouldn’t have thought of it.  But there it is.

So onward…

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This entry was posted in Writing.

24 comments on “Prescience…

  1. Rowenna says:

    I love those startling moments when you realize why you included a character or a place or a plot point that seemed to have dead-ended. For all our good intentions, plots unfold and characters become people in ways I know I never expect. Thanks for sharing!

  2. authorsanon says:

    or when everything suddenly seems to float together, after hours and even days spent plucking at whims and caprices hovering in the air, precisely 2 and 2/4 inches above our heads, ever so just out of reach . . .finally the fruit is ripe and ready to pluck. Anyone for Seconds ? Yes please.
    P.S. That Raeburn . . .could do with working off on a few challenging mares . . .hem.Or perhaps not, no, in fact, it is simply the set of his face. He has a fine glower to the eyes, doesn’t he . . .hmmmmm.

    • M M Bennetts says:

      Am very fond of Raeburn, me. And yes, glowering. Which seemed to encapsulate the character’s mood as he hovers about waiting for the chapter to get rolling. Glowering would also be me at the moment as I continue my research into Linz in 1812. Which is causing me to explete. A very great deal. Ha ha. No doubt, I’ll insert some of same into said character’s mouth before too long.

      • authorsanon says:

        NOw here’s an odd snippet (but no doubt you were already aware of this . . .): 1812
        Ludwig van Beethoven, whose brother owns a pharmacy in Linz, completes his 8th symphony while residing in the city.
        (http://www.linz.at/english/history/799.asp)

      • M M Bennetts says:

        I’ve spent the last several days studying Linz in this period, yes. Beethoven arrived from Teplitz having travelled via Budweis on the 5th October. And remained there until the 10th November. And he finished the Eighth Symphony as well as writing some works for Trombone…

        Getting information on the city has been maddening though. Contemporary guides say nothing about the several French occupations of the city, they don’t mention the fire that ravaged the castle, the Landhaus and much of the old city…

      • authorsanon says:

        infuriating, isn’t it. Have tried researching Stade in the year 1595-6, only to find that fires etc had wiped out most archival material for that whole period . . .
        Yup, in response to Johann signing himself ‘landowner’, Ludwig signed himself ‘Brain owner.’ I like it. Read a whole lot of biographies on Beethoven ages and ages ago . . .but this tabby’s brain tends to get over-full and pushes unused stuff into the attic to collect dust and cobwebs. Heigh ho. . .

      • M M Bennetts says:

        Given everything I know of his brothers, he wasn’t far off the mark. Ha ha.

        But as I was looking at biographical stuff on him yesterday, it seemed odder and odder how biographers divorce him from the chaos about him. They talk about him going into a period of depression and non-productivity late in 1812, but they never associate that with any of the rest of the world he lived in. Austria was on the verge of bankruptcy, Europe had been at war for twenty years with no end in sight–I can’t even imagine what that would do to the psyche. Everywhere you go, there’s ravaged countryside, unemployment’s running at about 50%, all economies in ruins because of the Continental Blockade…and you can’t see an end to it or a point to it…who would be chipper in those circs? He didn’t live in an isolation tank!

      • authorsanon says:

        Exactly so, in fact, I only remember coming across one reference to the effect of the Nappy Wars (yes, am feeling decidedly fecetious at the moment so please forgive)on Beethoven, where he went down to the cellar and covered his head with a pillow. Once again, one of those little items collecting dust in the attic, with no label attached to remind me where, when, how I came to read it in the first place . . .
        I do feel there is still a tendency,on the part of well, a few ‘specialists’, to leave out whole sections of background information,of which they perhaps expect everyone else to be automatically aware,or because some background information might not quite fit in with the thesis or theory they are presenting . . . perhaps it is even the result of a species of ‘escapism’ – after all, it must be quite a temptation to rewrite history as one would like it to be remembered (which yes, has happened since the Bayeux Tapestry onwards and still does) . . . who was it who said ‘History is written by the victor’ ? Another thing I always forget. And some ‘specialists’ I suspect are simply not as up on ‘global’ history as they might be. One musicologist and gifted harpsichord player, while lecturing us poor hopefuls on Thomas More, managed to founder quite badly on Henry VIII and his ‘eight wives’ – perhaps he was having an off day. Or was being facetious.

      • M M Bennetts says:

        My daughter also refers to him as Nappy so it is not a phrase with which I am unfamiliar.

        I believe the pillow over the head episode was the siege of Vienna in 1805-6…where among the related casualties was Haydn–a shell hit and destroyed the house three doors down from his; he suffered a heart attack and died three weeks later. All of Vienna blamed Napoleon for Haydn’s death. And given those circs, and also the situation, I shouldn’t think Beethoven was the only one down in the cellar with a pillow…

        Again, we realise perhaps that Beethoven lived at the same time as Napoleon, but we rarely imagine him living in a besieged city with all that that implies.

      • M M Bennetts says:

        All of Europe mourned for Haydn. As well they might.

  3. authorsanon says:

    2 and 3/4 inches, that should be . . . these trialsome, strugglesome keyboards . . .

    • authorsanon says:

      and other odd snippets about Beethoven’s brother Johann(which again you probably already know) : badly off for cash, he discovered his pots and jars were of solid English tin, which owing to Napoleon’s ban on English goods, were worth quite a lot, so he sold them for good money; then he was also perfectly placed in 1809 to supply Napoleon’s army with medical supplies – but that’s all several years before your present research date; the Beethoven household in 1812 instead was going through its own battlefield : Johann was intending to marry his housekeeper, and came to blows with Ludwig over it. Ludwig went to the Bishop and the civil authorities to ask intervention to no avail,and left Linz in November for Vienna . . .there, more useless bits and bobs I have picked up for no other good purpose than because I find them entertaining and lively . . .

      • M M Bennetts says:

        Er, yes. Beethoven disapproved of his brother’s war-profiteering because he loathed the French. Did you also know that when he wrote to his brother, he signed himself, ‘the Brain-keeper’.

        And of course the tinlessness was due to the Continental Blockade which I mentioned in another blog–the War of 1812, was it?

  4. junebugger says:

    I love that bursting “ah-hah!!” Moments a writer gets. The best feeling ever.

  5. Short reply otherwise you’ll be getting sick of me.
    Liked the interview. Must be difficult to do without sounding arrogant.
    Added you to my blogroll.
    Bye.

  6. authorsanon says:

    1805 – That’s the Bunny!Haydn too . . . now there’s another detail that often gets fogged away . . .it was I think less than 3 months since Haydn had taken leave of Mozart, with some ‘prescient’ finality, if accounts are to be believed . . .oh dear, too many loose threads and detritus floating around in my head now . . .

  7. authorsanon says:

    1805 – That’s the Bunny! And Haydn too – another of those details that gets fogged away . . .oh dear,a lot of loose threads and detritus in my head now . . still, at least I am not alone. Nappy. Ha ha.

  8. MHM says:

    When I first encountered you and May 1812 on Autho more than a twelvemonth ago, I had started my Book II, a sequel I suppose, where I had taken my MP to France. A mission of some import to the chaps back in London. The recovery of a government agent; Charles Hamilton Smith, who I am confident you will have encountered.

    That’s when my MP was captured, by the treachery of one close to him and escapes assisted by a new character; a cliche yes but the ‘attractive young French noblewoman’who must now assume a more prominent role. That’s when I hit the ‘wall’ and there, sad to say, my man still sits, awaiting some invention, some burst of imagination to motivate him and propel him forward.

    Of course I hold you in part responsible!

    Best. M

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