Archive | February, 2015

Juvenilia, part one

8 Feb

Reading through juvenilia is great fun (only for the writer, mind). There are all sorts of forgotten passages, one-liners, descriptions you could ‘lift’ from these old pieces, even pages of prose which you had once thought suited only that piece of writing, but now you can see could fit somewhere else, too. Another thing that looking through juvenilia can bring is a sense of the time and place when you were writing, even if what you were putting down on the page was apparently unrelated to your circumstances or your environment at the time.

For example, I wrote a lot of prose about summer holidays in those days, and a lot of poetry about the time when I lived in London. A lot of it is risible, but at least some of it is worth a re-read; and the little observations that date the juvenilia can give you memories that help if you wish to reproduce that time in your mature prose. For example, there’s a memorable description of my family waiting in a port for a ferry to arrive with someone crucial on it, which I am seriously thinking of using maybe in another context.

There’s a detective story I wrote when I was in my teens which I have mentioned before in this blog, I have not borrowed anything from it since it is preposterous, much in the way that so much of Midsomer Murders TV series is preposterous, but it’s good for me to see early versions of the two strands of writing prose that has started to dominate; the detective fiction/ crime novel with fantastical elements set abroad. No prizes for guessing that my latest attempt in that genre is set in Poland.