Monday, 28 November 2011

Denise Mina, Fragmented Narratives & Packaged Sandwiches

Denise Mina

I saw Denise Mina lecturing in the Anatomy Theatre on Glasgow campus last Thursday. OK, not lecturing. Talking. I saw Denise talking in the Anatomy Theatre. It’s a marvellous shrine to the body, with dismembered limbs lit up like art exhibits, femurs in formaldehyde, the whole caboodle. Denise was talking about her crime fiction and how the best material is found in the newspapers, gossip and buying coppers a dram or two.

I couldn’t quite link her writing process to my own . . . she writes tightly plotted genre novels, I go in for more inscrutable narrative stuntpilotry that never takes off into the stratosphere. It was interesting to hear how much she improvises to give the prose a freshness and inner tension, to generate the unexpected twists that keep her novels entertaining. Apart from that, mostly gas about her TV adaptation and strong female characters.

Fragmented Narratives

It’s official. I love fragmentation. I love narratives cobbled together from little flash paragraphs, weaving three or four stories together to create a striking overall product. Like David Markson. It’s this approach I’m taking for the second half of my novel. And, coincidentally, it’s this approach I’ve taken for my latest published story, A Disquisition on the Centrality of Sandwiches in Corporate Britain, up now at Eyeshot. Er . . . goodnight!