Hidden edges and the novel

Late last year Mark forbade me to expend any more energy talking about my novel when I need to be working on it.

“Whenever you want to bring more people into your process,” he said, “just remember how Fitzgerald always lamented the books he had ‘talked away.'”

Often I respond to orders by disobeying them, but Mark and I have a writing pact, and he’s more than upheld his end of it. So I won’t ruminate about my progress except to say that lately I can’t stop thinking about structure. A book fails or succeeds on its architecture, and right now my draft is bloated and wobbly.

This week I’ve been struck by my friend Marie Mockett’s musings about “hidden edges” — a fine-arts concept — and their relevance to the writer shaping a story:

[T]he final structure isn’t going to stand and the final image isn’t going to open up and give a sense of “largeness,” if the story doesn’t have some kind of internal bracing to hold it all in place.


Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to my free newsletter, Ancestor Trouble.


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.