Friday, July 15, 2016

Show don't Tell and Go Tell It on the Mountain

15th July 2016

I have started my re-write of the third and last book in my Veil Of Time series. I am ready to be done with this project and get the book out to my agent and then onto the shelves. Because of a tendency I have towards preachiness, much of this rewrite has to do with making sure I get off the bully pulpit and stick to the story. Showing, not telling, is the first law of fiction and should be the mantra of every writer. Why is it then so easy to forget? It's easy in this book because I have so much I want to drive home, and allowing the reader to make the jumps themselves is an act of faith.  Rewriting this time means taking myself into the corner where I am at my best as a poet in the craft of spinning words.

I keep imagining I will stop this art of spinning at some point - once all my backlog of books is out, I say. But then I have been coddling this new idea for a novel lately, actually quite an obvious next step after my forays into the moment in history when the church exterminated paganism. It  would be about Yeshua Ben Yosef (aka Jesus) before he became a holy icon. Coincidently, there's a brand new film about him starring Ewan MacGregor.

I know I ought to be glad for my countryman, but, good god, do we really need another European Jesus? With blue eyes and a Scottish accent to boot!  Ewan MacGregor, away you go and do a film about the glens and the heather, dig up some of that good Scottish history we were never taught at School.  Then you'll look the part.
But let's stop this endless rehashing of New Testament stories. They are after all just stories  cherry-picked from a collection that is very often downright contradictory.
The impetus for my new novel would not be the Bible, then, but something Oscar Wilde said to WB Yeats: what if Yeshua Ben Yosef were to zoom forward into our time, what would he think of how the Christian religion came to use him: as an excuse for hate and guns and persecution. The lake-preacher turned into a world religion of war.
So if there's any way to write this in the poet's corner, I'd like to do a Kazantzakis here and put the whole Christian thing on its ear.  The appeal in it for me is that somehow I think Yeshua might approve.

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