Thursday, 15 September 2011

Characters, why are you doing this to me?

This time next week, I hope to have handed in my dissertation.  Isn't that a scary thought?

It isn't due in until the 30th but, ever since I found out the date, I said I wanted to get it in before my birthday, the 27th.  Then various things got organised for the weekend before that - birthday meal with friends, a hen party etc - and I figured I wouldn't be getting any work done over those days.  So I concluded that I ought to get it done before that... which leads us to the dreaded date of the 22nd.

I've been working on the latest draft of the creative part today, going all the way through it three times in order to make various alterations.  I've sent it back to my supervisor but I really don't know whether I've managed to accomplish what I aimed for.

Characterisation has been a big problem for me during this project, though I never noticed while actually writing it.  It's only when I get feedback from my supervisor that I realise it's somewhat lacking.  Even when I tried to talk about it in my rationale I didn't get it right!

It makes me wonder whether I've always had a problem with it or whether it's just an issue with this novel in particular.  It's certainly never been mentioned to me before, so I'm leaning towards the latter.  I'm hoping that the editing I've done today has helped some but I'm not feeling too confident.  The fact that I didn't even spot the issues in the first place makes the problem harder to see, even when I'm looking for it.

I wrote a diary from the point of view of my main character.  It's not ever going to be included in the novel but I was trying to get into her head.  I found it fairly easy, in a way, her motivations and thought processes coming quite naturally.  It made me feel like I knew her, that she wasn't just an empty shell for me.  So why can't I show this in the novel itself?

Maybe I should have written Hide and See in the first person.  The third-person-limited perspective still makes it from Rhonda's perspective, but there are times when it feels too detached.

Bit late for that now, though - and there must have been a reason why I didn't do that in the first place, even if I can't remember why now!

On the reading front, I got through Alex Bell's The Ninth Circle at the beginning of the week.  It was a little bit of a struggle, not because the writing was bad - in fact, it was quite good, especially in drawing the reader into the emotion of the story - but because the subject turned out to be much heavier than I was expecting.  Angels, demons, God... it all got a little much.  I certainly didn't expect it from the blurb.  I think I might not have chosen it if I'd known how disturbing it was going to be.  Or maybe I'm just too over-sensitive when it comes to religious stuff?

Now I'm on to Ann Aguirre's Blue Diablo.  I'm only about a hundred pages in but it's going well so far.  I probably won't get to read much more until the weekend - I'm drowning myself in rationale-editing-gloom tomorrow - but I'm hoping it'll prove to be one of the better primary world fictions.  Fingers crossed, because it feels like I've read an awful lot of drivel.

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