A Practice in Imitation

I am experimenting with a new way to get myself unstuck in reference to a novel I’ve been working on. I have imitated the beginning of a favorite novel of mine: Snow Falling on Cedars, but have substituted one of my main characters and have changed the lines to reflect my character, not Guterson’s. Also, this is a way for me to try a different approach to the structure of the novel – starting late in the story and working back from there – and to get a clearer picture of this character.

This is just the first paragraph, but it took me a while so this is my blog for tonight.

The alleged murderer, Jacob Price, sat slumped at the defendant’s table, his arms tightly folded across his chest – the stance of a man already resigned to spend the rest of his life behind bars. Many townsfolk who had flocked to the trial would later say that his posture reflected his guilt; a few countered that it had more to do with his uncertainty that he would get a fair trial. Whatever the assessment, Jacob Price did not alter his position for the entire proceeding. He wore a gray suit with a light blue dress shirt and a dark blue tie. His body, especially his slim torso and long legs, brought to mind a long-distance runner, not one ounce of extra flesh. His face featured delicate cheekbones and large blue eyes; his hair, blond with gray at his temples, was pulled back into a long ponytail. Despite the seriousness of the charges waged against him, Jacob didn’t fidget in his chair or glance back at the crowd – instead he stared at a distant spot on the far wall and barely blinked.

I will proceed tomorrow with another paragraph or two. I am seeing how to populate my fictional town the way Guterson does. The advice to see who else lives in the town where my characters reside was suggested by one of my writing friends. I am thinking of this as a writing exercise and a way to play while I get clearer about my characters.

It is stirring things up in my imagination for sure.

Off I go to bed…


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