The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Further thoughts re. Heian diaries and former GN...

I was thinking about all the things the diaries don't mention--like names, and sometimes big chunks of the authors' lives, like, er, their own families. Many times the things the books don't mention are the very things that defined the roles and borders of the authors' lives in the real world, in their society and culture. That's one reason so many of the books have such an ethereal feel to them.

In the former GN, I've got a similar situation, where the MC is completely defined by other people and by her role in her culture/society. I've been trying to create her story...when it's not there. What I need to do--what I've actually already semi-done without noticing--is to create the stuff that's going on around her, and let the blank spaces that are left over define who she is. That's what the book is supposed to be, I think.

I'd already figured out that this is what's going on format-wise--white space helps define the character and tell the story. But I haven't carried that over to the actual choices I'm making about the written part. The written part needs to be like--well, okay, it's like the MC is an empty outline, but the reader won't be able to see that outline until I've filled in everything around her, by telling what's going on with all the other characters. She's a peripheral character in her own story, and the point is that we don't get her for herself. That was truly the point all along, and I've always known it was--I just never thought of being able to come at the writing part in that way.

In fact, I actually have been doing this all along in the writing, only I've been fighting it. All along the ms has kept going off to include everybody else's POV, while I never could quite nail the MC herself. I have continually assumed that this was a failure on my part. Creating sympathetic female characters has never been one of my strong points, so I've been pushing and pushing myself to overcome my weakness, to get this story down in a typical way, to figure out the MC's POV even though she doesn't really want anything because she's never had a chance to understand that it's okay to want something. I think I've been so busy reminding myself what I can't do well that I haven't noticed what the story's been trying to tell me.

I'm even thinking that all the saggy parts may fall out if I can handle this correctly, because I know what everybody else is doing during those times and what they want and need, and how it affects the MC.

It's going to be tough to write, but I've got 200+ pages to go over and "unforce"--to convert to however it's really wanted to be all along--and as I do so maybe I can see how it fits together to make a book. It's all in third person, and some of the formating choices are clear already, but the switches in time and POV will need some serious consideration. It'll be interesting to see how this develops. Essentially I need to try to write a book where the main character is continually a secondary character in her own story, but somehow it works anyway. Yeah, interesting challenge.