(C) 2011 by Metta Anderson – All Rights Reserved
The Belgian Surrealist René Magritte once painted a very realistic portrait of a pipe, the kind that was then fashionable for smoking. But he titled the work “C’est n’est pas une pipe” (This is not a pipe”) to call attention to the fact that the object on the canvas could not be used for smoking, therefore it was not a “real” pipe, but rather the depiction of a three-dimensional object known as a pipe.
The Surrealists and other cognoscenti thought this was screamingly funny.
This story keeps coming back to me when I look at the stats for my novel, “Pan Am Tapestry,” which is published on another blog using the theme “Chapters.” This theme was chosen to structure my novel, which is a complete work of fiction.
But I get the distinct impression that too many readers are either unfamiliar with works of fiction divided into chapters or assume that everything published on the internet is automatically converted into one continuous block of words through which one scrolls. As a result, readers are just sampling a chapter here, a chapter there and giving up when each supposed “post” does not seem to relate to another post read out of sequence. So please let me explain the way the theme works.
Go to the post marked “Chapter 1” and read it to where it stops. Then return the cursor to the top of the page, to the green bar where the numbers are. Click on the number “2.” This will display Chapter 2. Repeat this process all the way to Chapter 27. Please understand that each chapter is part of the novel and does NOT represent a separate post. The reader does not have to read all the chapters in their sequence, but it helps if he/she wants to understand the novel’s progression.
As another example, read Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” as a real book. Kerouac assembled all his notes and then assembled a very long roll of paper. He fed the tip of the roll into his typewriter and started writing. Essentially, this is how documents exist in computers, so Kerouac was ahead of his time in this aspect. However, publishers at the time had to divide the scroll into text-on-page, and the pages were assembled into books. Since the original manuscript was continuous, the editting was a nightmare. When that was finally done, a legal department had to go through it to make sure no one was blasphemed, libelled or unnecessarily held up to ridicule. Some people–friends of Kerouac’s in real life–signed releases, promising not to sue if their real names were published. This being the case, look for a recent edition of “On the Road,” where all the real names appear. It is not easier to read, but it saves the reader time. And yes, the book now has a few divisions which make this complex work a little more coherent.
And when you’re done with that, try “Big Sur.” Run-on sentences like you wouldn’t believe, and often without any punctuation! Fun!
I did not attempt to write like that. I used a standard format–chapters, each one numbered in sequence and bearing a title. “Pan Am Tapestry” is NOT a collection of posts. It is a novel on a blog.
From all this, I learned the following–do not publish in e-books. Maybe not publish on blogs anymore, for literary subjects. And there are millions of people who like to read but never actually learned how.
In fact, I think I should stick to writing for myself.