Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Breaking out of the Mould

Charles de Lint and Iain Pears are long-standing authors who have written many books. But their most recent novels particularly interested me as they demonstrated how much these two men have developed and expanded their writing style.

Charles de Lint initially wrote enjoyable but simple fantasies and fairy tales. In contrast, his latest book – The Mystery of Grace – is a powerful story that dares to explore some troubling concepts.

Iain Pears’ first seven books were Italian art mysteries, relatively short and straightforward. In contrast, Stone’s Fall, published in 2009, is 900 pages spanning three generations, multiple locations and an amazingly convoluted plot. I found the book somewhat too long and complicated, but I was in awe at how Pears developed and maintained an incredibly complex plot interweaving a large set of characters.

The two books set me to thinking about how some authors develop a successful writing formula – Dick Francis, J.D. Robb, Janet Evanovich. I enjoy all these authors, and I welcome the fact that I know what to expect when I pick up one of their books. But I also delight in watching authors like Pears and de Lint evolve and expand their repertoire.

As human beings, we’re offered a choice as well – to settle into a comfortable routine or to dig a little deeper, try a little harder and take some risks. I’m reminded of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

1 comment:

Stephanie V said...

Kudos to you that you enjoy an artist's evolution. Many fans simply want the writer (or painter, musician) to stay exactly as they were when the fan began the relationship. Personal relationships can be the same...some folks are very uncomfortable when people they know change and grow.