Monday, September 22, 2008

Accomodating Characters

I've spent the day doing some re-writes in Claire's still unfinished chapter. I was hoping to get it finished, but I was too distracted watching Lost in Austen, an amazing miniseries out of the UK in which a thoroughly modern young woman switches places with Elizabeth Bennet...hilarity and heartbreak ensue. Of course, I'm a sucker for all things Austen, so I'm a bit pre-disposed to liking this sort of thing. But I really think the script is incredible. The question, though, is does this count as research for Project Reach? I say yes, though it probably shouldn't.

But to bolster my rather thin claim that I didn't waste the entire day, I have located this fine, scholarly article: Why Jane Austen was Different, and Why We May Need Cognitive Science to See It

My good friend Carly, on whom MarLo is loosely based, turned me on to Lost in Austen when I went to visit her on Saturday. I happened to make an interesting observation about the behavior of a mutual friend and Carly remarked that she loved how I worded it. I said, "I don't know why you're surprised at my command of the English language. I'm a writer now, you know." That was worth a laugh.


I'm a little mad at myself for not completing Claire's chapter this weekend as the few people I've informed are on the short list to be first readers are chomping at the bit to get at the fruits of my labor. I've always had a reputation for being very literary, but I've never had to produce any proof of being so. It's always just been accepted. I'm starting to get a little worried at the reception my characters and story will get when I finally unleash them on the panel (who I have affectionately dubbed the Reach Readers). Re-reading what I've written so far, there's a real danger of the prose being over-styled. I know that a lot of editors would frown on this. It may even be grounds for a rejection. Gasp. But I'm still hopeful that it won't be a turnoff to the casual reader because (and this just smacks of vanity, but I'm going to say it anyway) I'm a master of flow. I have been primarily a poet, after all, and so my sentences are very fluid and natural. They have a certain pace that makes them sound attractive no matter how over-stuffed they may become. Stupid simile time: My sentences are like big, squashy chairs. If you have a really, really overstuffed chair that is upholstered in hard leather, it won't be comfortable to sit in because the leather won't give enough and you'll feel as if you're constantly being propelled out of the seat, and because, well, after awhile you get all sweaty sitting on leather and you start sticking in odd places. But if that same chair were upholstered in stretchy velvet, then you'll sink right into it and remain comfortable for hours. (I warned you it was stupid!)

Luckily, I've designed a character who is a genius and whose vocabulary should reflect his immense IQ, so I'm hoping this will allow me to get away with my propensity for egregious use of bloated metaphors. I may have created characters who accommodate my writing style without having consciously done so. Just one example: my character are unusually taciturn, and I suck at writing dialog. Yay me.

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