Thursday, 16 October 2008


This year's Man Booker award goes to Aravind Adiga.
Chair of the judges, Michael Portillo, said of Adiga's The White Tiger:

'In the end, The White Tiger prevailed because the judges felt that it shocked and entertained in equal manner.'

There's something to consider.
He continued:

'The novel [deals] with pressing social issues and significant global developments with astonishing humour.'

Okay, loads more to consider.

The global developments bit interests me.
No idea where I read it, but I was fascinated by the idea of events growing from a personal to a global significance.
Our protag's quest would open with a small/personal significance, and this would gradually grow throughout the novel, the ramifications spreading their tentacles outwards, affecting other people, perhaps ultimately affecting the whole world/universe/of existence, etc.

Take James Bond.
We find him chasing Mr Little who is attempting to steal a little book. On thwarting him, James discovers that Mr Little is working for Dr Big, and Dr Big needs the little book to gain access to a big facility. James catches up with Dr Big, only to discover that he is working for Hugo Huge, and Hugo needs to access the big facility to take control of a huge satellite. But it is Boris Gargantuan who needs the big satellite to wreak gargantuan havoc ...

Mr Little never works for his friend, Mr Equally-Little, nor does he work for Professor Miniscule.

Bigger and bigger.

'But what about The Incredible Shrinking Man?' I hear you declare (or, at least, you might do when I attach a picture of The Incredible Shrinking Man to this post).

Well, an ordinary man is engulfed in a mysterious mist and shortly after finds that his clothes don't fit him anymore (for which he has my sympathies). The problem affects him alone. He visits his doctor and the problem is now shared with the doctor. Then he confides in his partner and she too is embroiled. Then her brother, and then several more doctors. Soon, the world's press is camped out on his doorstep (and he even shares his problem with a midget woman who is passing by with the circus).

He might be shrinking, but his predicament balloons: at first it is his, and ultimately the entire world is in on it. (Unfortunately, he falls into the basement and everyone forgets about him.)

Yep, it's that forward momentum again: things growing and taking on ever-increasing significance (at a controlled pace).

This is where things get scary!
I'm finding something of a hesitation within me as my protag's deeds begin to move beyond the confines of his immediate existence. I can visualise a radius around him; he becomes the epicentre of an earthquake.
He is reasonably easy to control, but now that this radius expands to absorb others, I'm having to make lots of important choices about what to mention and what to ignore ... and how I might retain full control of this explosion!

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