Deconstructing The Road

At the moment, I am taking a class on dialogue in fiction with the online Odyssey workshop (this one).

Oh my goodness, just when I thought I knew what all I wasn’t doing right! This class is showing me a whole other world to writing, one I pretty much knew nothing about. (sad sigh)

In one sense, it is very disheartening to know that with as many books as I’ve read on the topic of fiction writing, I haven’t read them all and the gaps in my knowledge were readily apparent about 10 minutes into our first class.

But at the same time, I’m jazzed about learning how dialogue should be used in fiction, and how I can edit my current and future writing so that they read way better.

And I’m glad I recognized the need to take a class like this, because otherwise, I’d still be fumbling around in the dark.

The other day, my instructor, the wonderful Jeanne Cavelos, mentioned that I should deconstruct The Road by Cormac McCarthy – as an extracurricular activity. She said I would learn a ton with such an exercise. And, of course, the first thought I had after I picked my jaw off the keyboard was that I should share it here.

Lucky you, right? (Come on, you know you like reading about writing just as much as I do, Writer-Geek.)

So, every other Wednesday or so, I’ll go through a chapter of The Road. I’ll give you plenty of warning so that you can read along if you’d like. Be forewarned, the book is decidedly on the depressing side, but it did win a Pulitzer. Even if you hate the story, you have to admire the quality and skill. His writing style is spare, almost skeletal, and Mr. McCarthy eschews punctuation like the plague (pun intended, though nuclear fallout is humanity’s downfall in this book). As a result, every single word in this short read is there for a reason.

Let’s find out why together.

Next article of the Deconstructing The Road by Cormac McCarthy series planned for Wednesday, November 29th, 2013. The focus will be on the first chapter.

14 thoughts on “Deconstructing The Road

  1. Oh wow, a course on dialogue sounds great! Thanks for the tip on studying ‘The Road’. I have read this book and I loved the story, the way it was written. I am so curious to look at it again now, for the dialogue 🙂

    1. The course is great, but boy is it hard. A lot of information to digest. And, yeah, I’m curious how it will go re-reading The Road. I honestly do not remember there being a lot of dialogue! But my instructor used some examples from that novel and it was very illuminating what McCarthy did in what little he provided.

  2. I watched the film. Could see why the book was so successful but the film was not my cup of tea at all. Heavy, heavy, heavy.

    Aren’t we due another post on this by now? 😉

    1. Very true. It is not everyone’s cup of tea. And if someone had described it to me and said that I had to read it, I probably wouldn’t have. I picked it up one day at a used books store, started reading, and just loved it – because it made me feel. Sad feelings, for sure, but I so wanted that little boy to make it!

      And, yes, another post is forthcoming. I normally post writerly posts on Wednesdays. I missed last week, but you should see a post on this subject tomorrow morning.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      1. Then I shall swing by tomorrow.

        Have you read the book Measuring the World by, Daniel Kehlmann?

        This is a movie I must see, as the book was superb.

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