His terms were clear. The novel is under attack. This form which is the story of how it all began is us and we are it. Novelists listen to the heartbeat of time, and so their work is urgent. Novelists need to give people not what they want, but instead what they might least expect. They need to make art.
Möring states that the novel has come to a standstill and that novelists just seem to have accepted this.
He finished by rousing the assembled writers. Let us be bold and daring. Let’s risk it all and get back to the point whereby we ourselves are shocked by literature. Let’s mess with time and place and the idea of the text. Let’s be free and experimental. Let’s make art.
Novelists are the mothers and fathers of narrative invention. They have an obligation and must try to go where no man and no woman has gone before.
There was general agreement from the writers gathered that there is indeed a crisis in the novel form. The market has become constricted and now publishers are not taking a chance on experimental forms of novels, writers are being herded towards the familiar.
Has the European novel sold its soul and become a commercial tool of bog-standard storytelling? It might have. Yet is this just an Anglo-American disease? The novel in English may be doomed, but this doesn’t necessarily hold for all novels.
Those writing in other forms noted Marcel’s insistence on the novel being the ultimate literary form. Maybe the most interesting literature is happening outside of the novel now. Would that be such a bad thing?
A poet noted that of course it’s worthwhile to look for something new in the novel; poets are constantly searching for the new. If novelists become really experimental and break down all of the boundaries in the novel, maybe they’ll end up writing poetry!
You may also like...
Writing the grotesque body with Heather Parry
In this episode of The Writing Life podcast, author Heather Parry discusses writing the grotesque body and reimagining gothic tropes.
19th February 2024
Writing and chronic illness with Polly Atkin
In this episode of The Writing Life podcast, author Polly Atkin discusses writing and navigating the publishing industry as a chronically ill person.
5th February 2024
Writing for younger audiences with Chip Colquhoun
In this episode of The Writing Life podcast, children’s author and NCW mentor Chip Colquhoun discusses the the key components needed for every story, and how to target your writing to different age groups.
22nd January 2024