Martin Dumont is a French naval architect and writer, whose first novel in English translation, Schrödinger’s Dog, is published in March 2020. (February 2020)

Follow Martin Dumont on Twitter: @Mart_Dumont.

NYR DAILY

Waterlines: On Writing and Sailing

Winslow Homer, Ship-building, Gloucester Harbor, Massachusetts, 1873

A boat, like a piece of writing, is first of all conceived as a structure. Whether it is a cargo ship, an ocean liner, a ferry, or a pleasure boat, each has a primary function, a part to play. Its purpose defines its size, its shape, and its overall dimensions. When I write, I proceed in the same manner. Each part, each chapter, has its own function. Just as the engine powers the boat, as the bow cleaves through the waves, and the keel ensures the stability, even the shortest paragraph fulfils a certain purpose. In my case, the engineer endows the writer with a desire for efficiency.