There, I've plugged my new novel on Slate.Com, just as Andrew asked me to as part of the successful charm offensive that convinced me to do something -- help fill in for him -- that I swore I'd never do again when I dropped exhausted into bed after trying it the first time late last summer. But I have "product" now, as they say in Hollywood, and because my product is on the Web, just a click away from Andrew's product, here I am. With my long, un-Webbish sentences, my inability to put up links and my lack of interest (based on inability) in delivering little excerpts from outside articles. These flaws and incompetencies were pointed out to me -- massively, repeatedly, acidically-- during my last stop here. Get connected, lazybones.
The Unbinding is my attempt to do that. It's a novel that's not just being published on the Web, it's being written there. The whole idea seemed gimmicky at first (oh no, not hypertext; not pictures; not tricky sounds) but now I'm realizing that it's not at all. It represents a return to fundamentals. Much as blogging is returning journalism to its arresting, imperfect, assertive origins, spinning a tale before one knows the ending, and doing so without the opportunity to double back and fiddle with the beginning, is storytelling in its wild, natural state. (Although The Unbinding has an expert editor, Meghan O' Rourke, who trained at the New Yorker.) Next time you make up a children's bedtime story, you'll see exactly what I mean. The only direction is onward. Trust in inspiration, not second thoughts. In foresight, not hindsight. In spells, not science. And glance around the bedroom for ideas. That painting of a sailing ship? It's time to send one of your characters to sea, perhaps. That other painting of an idyllic farm? That's what your character dreams of once he's shipwrecked on the barren Pacific island.