Sunday, July 29, 2007

Proust and Time

Below is a link to a blog I like a lot. Keep reading down and there will be a mention of Proust.

Last night I read the scene where St. Loup is introduced. One of the things I've learned in writing is that when the writer first describes a character, that character should not be static--there needs to be some movement somewhere. Proust first shows us St. Loup coming up from the beach, and ends the description with him jumping onto the carriage and taking off. Lots of the action consists of his trying to control his monocle. So although the description is quite long, it also portrays St. Loup in action, at least about as much action as a Proust character ever performs. This is not to damn with faint praise. Action doesn't need to be jumping out of airplanes and shoot off firearms. Action can be small, like fiddling with one's monocle. Think of master spymaster George Smiley polishing his glasses on his tie all the time. Action, revealing character.


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