The twenty-ninth story in my collection, When I Am Not Writing Poetry, ‘The Birth of a Story’, describes what lay behind the writing of ‘The Endless Border’, and like its parent, plays with structure and format. In the formatting I have tried to distinguish between the different voices in my head while I was writing of ‘The Endless Border’; I have played with narrative, and with time, interweaving short extracts from the story itself to indicate my progress.
He thought that the trouble was that he always wanted his writing to be memorable. And that he wanted to be known as a writer. Like … he had been going to write Dickens—the first name that came into his head. He shuddered. Ridiculous! Definitely not like Dickens. Perhaps like Durrell or maybe even Nabokov; yes, that would do. Definitely. But he was a long way from that—while he had a story line and some idea of his protagonists in his head, he was not sure how to make them truly rounded, compelling individuals who would carry the plot forward while holding his readers. He had read somewhere that there were five traits of a personality—introversion (or whatever the opposite was), agreeableness, emotional stability, conscientiousness, and the degree to which someone was open to new experiences, and that most people were average in each of these. So, he reasoned that to make a character interesting, someone who would stand out, it would be necessary to move them away from average—in either direction—in one or two traits. But he wasn’t sure that he wanted to contort his people like that. He could imagine the Reader’s indignation. Or his wife who, while she may like his representation of her as emotionally very stable, would not like to find herself thought extremely anything! But still, she was scarcely there. None of them was. Except for the Writer, of course.
Voices. They were all just voices! Faint voices. Distant, some of them.
You will have to focus.