Continued Thoughts on Novel Stuffing and Alan Moore

Alan Moore is a legendary comic book and graphic novel writer. I say this without exaggeration. With “From Hell,” “V for Vendetta,” “Promethea,” and other works, he has cemented his reputation for generations. Not to mention his masterpiece, “Watchmen,” is the only graphic novel consistently listed in 100 Greatest Novels of All Time lists. Moore is no joke. A great storyteller with encyclopedic knowledge of history, literature, and even the mystic arts.

But can he write a novel?

Well – he certainly wrote one: the 3,000+ page “Jerusalem,” which came out last year.  A sprawling epic cut into three heavy volumes, it’s about EVERYTHING, from the gutters of London to who knows what cosmic ideas. 

I started reading “Jerusalem” the other day. The first chapter is slow, methodical, with many details, many words, English dialect, and dreamlike sensibilities. 

Now I’ve complained in the past about unnecessary padding and stuffing in novel. Is Jerusalem guilty of this?  I don’t know.  Would I have written this first chapter in a more minimalistic, shorter form? Definitely.

But I respect Moore without question. As an artist, if he decided to write in this fashion, I respect his decision.

Even though I will probably never write in a florid style again (I did in the past), I envy those that can. That might sound crazy.  But despite my minimalist militarism, I do enjoy wordy, flowery text and slow stories.  My favorite writers include Theodore Dreiser and Melville, among others. I remember a friend described Dreiser as “lethargic”.  I describe him as “chill”. 

Dusk – of a summer night. 

When I first read that line in American Tragedy, I was in love, a love for Dreiser that is as strong as ever. I read his “Sister Carrie” a while back, and I’m still haunted by descriptions of that novel. 

So I’m cool with Alan Moore being a little wordy.  It’s not how I write, but it’s sometimes how I wish I wrote.