Trentonomicon

Being the Web Home of Trent Jamieson

Trent Jamieson is a multi-award winning novelist and short story writer. 


He is the author of the Death Works series, The Nightbound Land Duology, Day Boy, and The Giant and the Sea.

He can be contacted below.

Some of his short fiction can be read here.

 
 
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What Even is it About?



I have a new book coming out. I am deep in another book, with quite a few other stories in various stages of draft. I’ve published nine books depending on your definition, but I still have trouble saying what my book is about.


I mean skin-curling, makes me slightly sick, trouble. I know my themes, my concerns, I guess, usually something to do with climate change (which the book definitely is about), or the inequity of power, or the fragility of people/identity/love.


My books are a slow and painful revelation.


By the end of the first draft I have a bit of an idea. But my first drafts are a mess, so it’s a bit of a mess of an idea. By the second, third, and then the weird radical rewrite what-the-hell-am-I-doing-but-this-feels-okay draft, I have more of an idea. Each draft is an uncovering. Quite often though it’s less a thematic uncovering as a realisation of what makes sense and what doesn’t.


I’m a terrible drafter. But what I seek is rhythm, clarity where it’s good, obfuscation where it might be necessary.


Books are sense makers (sometimes), they’re the world given a structure, and unity in way that our world seems resistant to (on the surface). But that sense can have so many streams, particularly in a novel, but all writing is like that to a degree. That’s without factoring in the reader.

Read a new poem, then get someone else to read it, and you will see all the incongruities of interpretation.


So, even when I finish a book, when it is published (if it is published) and I think I know what it is about, I’ll find that people have an entirely different notion.


At best the clarity I have aimed for is a kind of murky mirror and the reader puts their face there. Which is a wonderful thing: a magical thing. But it doesn’t make it clearer.


What I think a book is about will change from distance. Things will become obvious, other things will fall away.


So I suppose, outside the interests of marketing, a book is about a lot of things.


You tell me what it’s about?


But that said, The Giant and the Sea is perhaps my clearest jab at something. Not because it's a children's book, but because it came out that way. The next book is much murkier, but that's okay, I feel much more comfortable there.

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