Modernism and Editing
FURTHER THOUGHTS ON 3–D WRITING
(“A Painter at Work” by Paul Cezanne.)
Modernist art IS editing. It’s cutting away all unnecessary material and allowing our minds to fill in the empty spaces. A technique in writing pioneered by Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and Georges Simenon.
These writers knew painting and they knew how a daub or two of paint could touch our emotions and allow us to “see” the reality of the image. In writing, a key touch of color or taste or sound to suggest something greater. To stimulate our memories, our own experiences.
This is the antithesis of standard literary writing which strives to tell you everything, overwhelming the narrative with details.
AN EXAMPLE of modernist editing in another art form can be found in this movie trailer:
The film: the 1959 version of Ben-Hur. (Which WILL be playing in movie theaters across the country this month, April 14 and 17, to celebrate the film’s 60th anniversary.)
The trailer is a work of art, superbly edited to suggest the four-hour long motion picture. It achieves a conciseness, a modernist sharpness, not possible from the larger work it serves to advertise. Note especially how the unknown editor uses voice-overs from other scenes to make thematic points; and how he dissolves the two biggest sequences, the chariot race and the crucifixion, into each other.
All movies are shaped and “cut.” Material left out. The trailer is extremely cut.
The idea points a direction for those wishing to make fiction– the short story in particular– as sharp, angled, fast-paced, and exciting as possible.
Which we’re attempting to do with the 3–D Story.
Karl Wenclas, New Pop Lit NEWS