Saturday, 15 September 2012

The iPod test

In the course of her travels recently Gert has taken to listening to novels downloaded from the free site LibriVox ( and has discovered that writer's tics and foibles leap out at her as they don't when she is reading, particularly if the book is one she's read more than once, as is the case with Women in Love.  She was reminded at every turn  of How not to write a novel (Mittelmark & Newman).  DHL needs a stern editor to remove all adverbs, restrict adjectives to one per noun, allow only "said" as a dialogue marker and come down heavily on all scenes involving horses or cattle. The scene in which Gudrun performs Dalcroze movements to a herd of surprised cattle made Gert laugh and laugh, as did Hermione's standing-up orgasm as she bashes Birkin on the head with a lapis lazuli paperweight.
Results of a scientific word-count:
1) loins - the runaway winner, followed by
2) queer ( as part of an adjective chain describing facial expressions or tones of voice)
3) swoon, -ed, -ing
4) inchoate

Loins, queer, swoon, inchoate - there you have the DHL project. A friend has also pointed out his fascination with women's stockings, sashes and hats, while the males are all loins.

Gert does, though, remember Sons & Lovers being rather better, and may subject it to the iPod test.

But how would her own work stand up to the test?


Anonymous said...

Hi Gabrielle and Joan,
Liked your comments on writing and literature. Your description of your characters are hilarious. They want to walk off the page, the blog and want to be shared around and I wish some publisher would take them under their wing and bring them out.
Accomplished but wanted a bit more of profile of you two. What a feat to write so many words, and let it rip and let it fly.

Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers said...

Oh rather droll! I was besotted by DHL in my younger days, and (I think) I've read everything he wrote. I'm not sure how he would stand up to re-reading now, but I suspect that as with Tschaikovsky that we tend to grow out of too, it would be a mistake for younger readers not to sample the wares.