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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Daniel Silva, The Fallen Angel and Me

Daniel Silva's The Fallen Angel

I've had the book for a while now, sitting on the mantel, saving it for the right time. It's a hardback, The Fallen Angel. I don't like hardbacks. I like to read in bed or lounging in my recliner. They're heavy, but I bought it and that should tell you something as well. I don't buy many books now, since I got my second Kindle and discovered the freebies, only those books I know I'll read again and again, books I want to hold and tuck into a bag when I go. Books that become part of me.

Today's the second day of writing my third book. I'm in that magical state of awareness,  with the words waiting to be written down always in the back of my mind, a program constantly running in the background. Driving to the grocery, waiting in the dentist's office, vacuuming the basement stairs—whatever's happening on the surface, underneath I'm deep in the story to come.

I like to read while I'm loading the three cups of coffee it takes to get me up and running in the morning. This morning it was The Fallen Angel, and I only managed to get through the first chapter. Don't mistake me, I was as totally fixated on Gabriel Allon as ever, but I run on several levels at once, and this morning, my writer self was ooohing and aahhing and rolling over in admiration at Silva's technique even as I was falling in love with Gabriel all over again.

Silva's master class, chapter 1: set the scene, using an accessible character, check. Make it an intriguing setting, check. Don't be a travelogue, check. Drop a small bomb. Check. And Gabriel—show us his deep humanity, check. His importance, check. His unique ability to speak to the paintings in his care, check.  Make him nuanced and vulnerable and  so, so skilled.  Most of all, make me love him. done.

Sorry, for some reason I can't understand, this picture won't rotate upright. The reason I took the picture was it's so essentially Pilsen--St. Matthew's church, offering immigration services a notary public, and food to the community it serves.

Torn now, between reading on and writing Seraphy's next story. I want to do even a tenth as well. There's a title waiting—In Pilsen, South of 16th.  The title to pins the story down, gives Seraphy a place to stand, and, if it’s the right title, brings a little sense of what's to come.
I think I'll read Silva's first two chapters again, try to learn a bit from the master. Hmm. I just had a flash, generations of would-be painters standing in front of Caravaggio's Deposition, studying the masterwork. And that's how it's done. 

1 comment:

  1. Just be careful you don´t channel Daniel Silva when you sit down to do your own writing!
    (Reb, who did that with Stephen Mitchell for a while)