Elmore Leonard的十条写作规则

November 4th, 2016

【按】Elmore Leonard是美国通俗小说家,索尔·贝娄、斯蒂芬·金都很推崇他。他的悬疑小说,大部分改成了电影和电视剧。奥斯卡最佳影片The Sting(骗中骗)的制片人Tony Bill,认为所有指导编剧的书都没什么用处,唯独对Elmore Leonard写的一本小册子《Elmore Leonard的十条写作规则》推崇备至,认为这是一本不是写给剧作家的剧作指南。这本册子很短,配上插图再加上一大半留白,还不足90页,有的一页只印了两个单词。但不得不说,这是我看过的最有趣的写作风格指导书。下面试译之,仅供学习参考,请购买正版。

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Elmore Leonard的十条写作规则

有一些规则是在我写书的路上捡到的,它们帮助我保持隐身,帮助我去展示(show),而不是去讲(tell)故事里发生了什么。如果你拥有语言和形象方面的才具,而且你的调调让自己愉悦,隐身不是你所追求的,你可以跳过这些规则。即便如此,你也可以浏览一下。

规则1:写书绝不以天气开篇

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如果仅仅为了营造气氛,而不是描写人物对天气的反应,你不需要把天气写得那么长。读者会跳着翻页去找人物。也有例外。如果你恰巧是Barry Lopez,在《北极梦》(Arctic Dreams)一书中描写冰雪办法比爱基斯摩人还要多,你就尽情报告天气吧。  

规则2:避免序言

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它们很招人烦,尤其是前面还有前言、介绍。

在非虚构作品中,序言很常见。一部小说的序言,就是背景故事,你可以随心所欲放在任何地方。在约翰·斯坦贝克的《甜蜜星期四》(Sweet Thursday)中,也有序言,但是它在那里很合适,因为书中的人物表达了跟我的规则一样的观点。他说:

「我喜欢书中有好多对话,但我不希望有人告诉我,这个家伙说话时是什么样子。我希望根据他谈话的内容自己指出来……根据这家伙所说,指出他所想。我喜欢一些描述,但不要太多。」

斯坦贝克的人物继续说:

「有时候,我希望一本书里能够放进去一些喋喋不休的话,以变得松弛……玩弄一些漂亮的辞藻,或者用语言唱一些歌。但我希望这些能单独放在一边,我可以不必须去读。我不希望喋喋不休跟故事混在一起。」

规则3:写对话时,绝不使用除「说」(said)以外的动词

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对话的内容属于人物,动词是作者横插一杠子。但是,「说」比「咕哝」、「气喘吁吁地说」、「小心翼翼地说」、「撒谎道」更少一些唐突。我曾经注意到Mary McCarthy结束一句对话时用了she asseverated(「她郑重声明」),我不得不停下阅读翻词典。  

规则4:绝不使用副词去修饰「说」(said)

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……他严肃地告诫。像这样(或像那样)使用副词犯了死罪。作者现在热切地暴露自己,使用了一个分散和打断交流节奏的词。我在一本小说中,通过一个人物之口说,她写的历史浪漫小说,充满了「奸淫和副词」。  

规则5:控制使用惊叹号

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允许你每写10万字使用2到3次。如果你有Tom Wolfe使用惊叹号的才能,你可以随意使用。

规则6:永不使用「突然」(suddenly)或「顿时乱成一团」(all hell broke loose)

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这条规则无需解释。我注意到,喜欢使用「突然」的作者,在使用惊叹号时也不加节制。

规则7:节俭地使用方言俚语

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一旦你在对话中使用方言的拟音拼写,你就刹不住。注意Annie Proulx在她的短篇小说集Close Range中是怎样捕捉怀俄明方言的韵味的。

规则8:避免对人物进行详细描写

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斯坦贝克表达过。在海明威的短篇小说《白象一样的群山》(Hills Like White Elephants)中,「带着一个姑娘的美国人」长什么样子?「她摘下帽子放在桌上」。这是里面唯一的一句外表描写。但是,我们能够通过他们对话的语气看到并了解这对男女,尽管没有看到一个副词。

规则9:不要过分描述一地、一事的细节

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除非你有Margaret Atwood之才,能用语言描述Jim Harrison画风的风景。但即使你擅长此道,你不想让这些描写使得动作、故事的流动处于静止状态。   最后–

规则10:略过读者会跳过去的部分

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1983年,当我和本月图书俱乐部的编辑一起午餐时,这条规则跳进我的脑海。想想你读小说时跳过去的部分:密集的段落充斥着太多的词语。

作者在做什么?他在写呀写,喋喋不休,也许正在描写天气,也许走进了人物的脑袋里,而读者要么已经知道人物在想什么,要么根本不在意。我大都,你不会跳过那些对话。

我最重要的规则,将上述十条一言以蔽之:

如果听上去像写作,我就重写。

或者,如果正确的用法被堵在路上,就让它去。

我不能允许我们从作文课上所学的那些东西,去打断叙述的声音与节奏。

我尝试隐身,而不是用显而易见的写作,来分散读者对于故事的注意力。

(约瑟夫·康拉德说过一句话,大意是,词语阻挡了你想说的话。)

如果我在写一个场景,总是用特定人物的视角去写,这一视角最能把场景带活。我专注于人物的声音,告诉你他们是谁,他们对所发生的事物的所见所感。而我是不可见的。

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斯坦贝克在《甜蜜星期四》中,在每一章都加了一个提示性的小标题。「上帝爱谁就让谁疯狂」这是某一章的标题。「糟糕的星期三」这是另一章。第3章的标题是「喋喋不休之一」,第18章是「喋喋不休之二」,作为对读者的警告,斯坦贝克似乎在说:

「在这儿,你将看到我用文笔乘着想象力的翅膀起飞,但是这不会挡住故事的路。如果你想跳过去,就跳呗。」

《甜蜜的星期四》1954年出版,那一样我也开始出书,我至今忘不了它的序言。

我读了那些喋喋不休的章节吗?

一字不漏。

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怎样告诉一位母亲她的孩子死了

November 2nd, 2016

《纽约时报》刊登的一篇急诊医生写的佳作,字字简单,连在一起不简单。沉郁,真切。这种文风太值得我们学习了,哪怕把它翻译一遍,都有很大的收获。

原文链接:(How to Tell a Mother Her Child Is Dead – The New York Times

How to Tell a Mother Her Child Is Dead

By NAOMI ROSENBERGSEPT. 3, 2016

怎样告诉一位母亲她的孩子死了

作者:诺米·罗森伯格
译者:王佩

Philadelphia — First you get your coat. I don’t care if you don’t remember where you left it, you find it. If there was a lot of blood you ask someone to go quickly to the basement to get you a new set of scrubs. You put on your coat and you go into the bathroom. You look in the mirror and you say it. You use the mother’s name and you use her child’s name. You may not adjust this part in any way.

【发自费城】首先,找到你的大衣。我不管你记得不记得它放哪儿了,找到它。如果上面有大量血迹,就叫人快点到地下室拿套新的手术衣来。你穿上大衣,你走进洗手间。你看着镜子,你说出那句话。你称呼那位母亲的名字还有她孩子的名字。在任何情况下,这一部分都不可变更。

I will show you: If it were my mother you would say, “Mrs. Rosenberg. I have terrible, terrible news. Naomi died today.” You say it out loud until you can say it clearly and loudly. How loudly? Loudly enough. If it takes you fewer than five tries you are rushing it and you will not do it right. You take your time.

我演示给你:如果你告诉的人是我母亲,你要说,「罗森伯格太太,我有一个很坏很坏的消息。诺米今天死了。」说出来,清楚点,大声些。大到什么程度?大到足够大。如果练习不足五次,你就太着急了,你不会把这件事做好。你慢慢来。

After the bathroom you do nothing before you go to her. You don’t make a phone call, you do not talk to the medical student, you do not put in an order. You never make her wait. She is his mother.

走出洗手间,在见到她之前,你不做任何事。你不打电话,你不跟医学生交谈,你不下任何命令。你不能让她等。她是他的母亲。

When you get inside the room you will know who the mother is. Yes, I’m very sure. Shake her hand and tell her who you are. If there is time you shake everyone’s hand. Yes, you will know if there is time. You never stand. If there are no seats left, the couches have arms on them.

当你走进房间,你会知道谁是那位母亲。是的,我很清楚。跟她握手,告诉她你是谁。如果有时间,就跟每个人都握手。是的,你会知道有没有时间。你不站着,如果没有空座,沙发有扶手。

You will have to make a decision about whether you will ask what she already knows. If you were the one to call her and tell her that her son had been shot then you have already done part of it, but you have not done it yet. You are about to do it now. You never make her wait. She is his mother. Now you explode the world. Yes, you have to. You say something like: “Mrs. Booker. I have terrible, terrible news. Ernest died today.”

你需要做个决定是不是问她已经知道了。如果你给她打过电话,告诉她,她的儿子中枪了,那么,你已经说了一部分,但还没有说完全。你现在要说了。她是他的母亲。现在你要引爆世界。是的,你必须这样做。你大概会这样说:「布克太太,我有一个很坏很坏的消息。厄内斯特,他死了。」

You will not stand up. You may leave yourself in the heaviness of your breath or the racing of your pulse or the sight of your shoelaces on your shoe, but you will not stand up. You are here for her. She is his mother.

你不会站着。你可能会呼吸沉重,心跳急促,或者盯着自己的鞋带,但你不会站在那里。你来这里是为了她。她是他的母亲。

If the mother has another son with her and he has punched the wall or broken the chair, do not be worried. The one that punched the wall or broke the chair will be better than the one who looks down and refuses to cry. The one who punched the wall or broke the chair will be much easier than the sister who looks up and closes her eyes as they fill.

如果这位母亲还有另一个儿子陪伴,他会捶墙,砸椅子,不要担心。捶墙砸椅总比盯着地板、一声不哭强。这种情况总比他有个姐姐,抬起头又闭上泪眼更容易处理。

Security is already outside the room and when they hear the first loud noise they will know to come in. No, you will not have to tell them. They know about the family room in the emergency department in summer in North Philadelphia. It is all right. They will be kind. If the chair cannot be sat in again that is all right. We have money for new chairs every summer. If he does not break your chair you stay in your chair. If he does you find a new place to sit. You are here for the mother and you have more to do.

房间外的保安听到第一声巨响,会知道跑进来看。不,你不需要跟他们说什么。他们知道这是北费城的夏天,这里是急救室的家庭接见室。让它去,保安会很友善。如果那把椅子不能坐了,让它去。每年夏天,你都有购买新椅子的预算。如果他砸的不是你坐的椅子,你就继续坐着。如果砸的是你的,就换个新地方坐。你来这里是为了那位母亲,你还有更多的要做。

If she asks you, you will tell her what you know. You do not lie. But do not say he was murdered or he was killed. Yes, I know that he was, but that is not what you say. You say that he died; that is the part that you saw and that you know. When she asks if he felt any pain, you must be very careful. If he did not, you assure her quickly. If he did, you do not lie. But his pain is over now. Do not ever say he was lucky that he did not feel pain. He was not lucky. She is not lucky. Don’t make that face. The depth of the stupidity of the things you will say sometimes is unimaginable.

如果她问你,你会把所知道的告诉他。你不撒谎。但是不要说,他被谋杀或者杀害了。是的,我知道他是那样死的,但你不要那样说。你说,他死了,这是你所说的,也是你所知道的。当她问,他走的时候痛苦吗,你应当格外小心。如果他没有,你要立即告诉她。如果他有,你不撒谎,你说「痛苦都结束了。」不要说他没有经历痛苦,他很幸运。他不幸运。她也不幸运。不要做蠢表情。有些时候,你想象不到你说的话里蕴藏的愚蠢的深度。

Before you leave you break her heart one more time. “No, I’m so sorry, but you cannot see him. There are strict rules when a person dies this way and the police have to take him first. We cannot let you in. I’m so sorry.” You do not ever say “the body.” It is not a body. It is her son. You want to tell her that you know that he was hers. But she knows that and she does not need for you to tell her. Instead you tell her you will give her time and come back in case she has questions. More questions, or questions for the first time. If she has no questions you do not give her the answers to the questions she has not asked.

你离开之前,你要再把她的心撕碎一次。「不,我很抱歉,但是你现在不能见他。我们有严格规定,这样去世的人,警察要先带走。我们不能让你们进去,真的很对不起。」你不会说「遗体」。那不是遗体。那是她儿子。你想告诉她,你知道他曾经属于她。但是她知道这些,无需你啰嗦。你告诉她,你会给她时间,如果她有问题,你还会回来。更多的问题,或者就是第一次提出的问题。如果她没有问题要问,你就不需要给她那些没有被问起的问题的答案。

When you leave the room, do not yell at the medical student who has a question. When you get home, do not yell at your husband. If he left his socks on the floor again today, it is all right.

当你离开房间,不要对着问你问题的医学生嚷。当你回到家,不要对着你的丈夫嚷。如果他今天又把袜子丢在地板上,让它去。

Naomi Rosenberg is an emergency room doctor at Temple University Hospital.

诺米·罗森伯格是Temple大学医院的一位急诊室医生。

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wangpei.net开通了

October 26th, 2016

两个月前新开了一个博客,域名是:

wangpei.net

wangpei.co

因为使用Farbox的服务,更新更方便,甚至用微信都可以写。

如果你要看到即时更新的内容,可以访问新站。

白板报(baibanbao.net )还会存在,如果你需要读长一点的文章,还是欢迎常来这里。

2,161 total views, 5 views today

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