Saturday, January 2, 2010

Undress rehearsal (continued).

I did a lot of serious contemplation about the initial direction of Effie's dress on its journey from her body to the floor, but I just couldn't decide. So I arranged for the interruption to come before they get to that point.

But here's today's mini-lesson in writing: if you have two good ideas -- in this case visual images -- that seem to be mutually exclusive, why not see if there's a valid way to include both? And so, in eager anticipation of a night of passion, I have Oliver vividly wondering which approach Effie will use.

Will she do the haul over the head bit, he wonders, a la Glenda Jackson's nightdress in Women in Love? Or the plunge to the floor effect employed by Teri Hatcher in the Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies?

(Oliver's pants can clearly only go in one direction, although it was Lewis Carroll who purportedly invented the joke about the man whose feet were so big, he had to take his trousers off over his head.)

And sometimes, this kind of thinking gives you a narrative gift: by showing Oliver's anticipatory imaginings, the gulf between the expectation and the actual outcome is greater, thus intensifying the poignancy. But mainly, it's a sneaky way of not wasting an idea.

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