Journal – Week 3

I submitted my first assignment for my dissertation year today. It’s a pitch, but a much longer and more detailed one than I’d usually do, which for an over-writer like me is a huge relief. But it also means the target audience – my lecturer and whoever looks over the dissertation at the end – have much more context than any readers of my blog. They (whoever ‘they’ are) say you shouldn’t talk too much about a project until it is done, but considering this is literally half my grade for a degree that is both costing me thousands and I’ve spent the last two years working towards – I’m confident this project will happen.

I’m still lacking some detail (okay, a lot of detail), but here’s a quick’n’dirty version of my pitch so far;

1st person sci-fi/fantasy crossover focussed on the community identity.

The centre-of-gravity for the conflict on both sides will be control of identity – kind of like an information warfare campaign aimed at control over the how a community views other, and what defines ‘one of us’ in that community.

The centre of each society will be metal – one from a resource scarcity perspective, the other from a cultural/possibly religious sense. In one sense, it is seen as a waste if unused, and in another, it is known as ‘dead’ metal until it is forged and formed (which may or may not include a human soul that defines how it can be used). The idea of dead metal will be the symbolism for the change in identity (still working out the how), and gives the project its working title: Dead Metal.  

But anyway, if you’re reading this and thinking I must have gone mad with the muddlement that exists inside my brain, hopefully this week’s journal entry will be a little more coherent. Or at least it will be enough to convince the markers I can be coherent.

Also, a shout out to Chris Andrews whose book ‘Character and Structure: An Unholy Alliance’, has been as informative and appreciated as all the advice he’s given over the last five or so years – which is to say very much so.

Journal – Week 3

On techniques and application, my artefact will be focussing on an intellectual promise as defined by Kress, in that I aim to portray a different world that reflects on this one (2011, p. 11). In this sense the setup will aim to be representative of the theme by using identity as a way to divide the protagonist and their community. Not only does this bring immediate conflict, it also escalates the problem by removing the protagonist’s ability to influence the community when a larger problem arises. It is also a familiar situation that does not require substantial explaining, giving words back to the character arc, the plot progression, and the small details of worldbuilding that make the world distinct (Andrews, 2019).

One such detail of the setting will be used as a symbol for the identity focussed theme (Burroway, 2014– the use of metal. By using the setting to set the symbolism, the idea of a metal only being able to be forged for a use once acts as a persistent challenge to the idea that identities can change. This gives the counter to the protagonists aim and ensures that there is a cultural risk in giving up being known as ‘dead’ metal, and finally take a role in society. Such a role would define them in their spheres of influence and action, while the disregard given to dead metals would render them active, but without influence. A broadly familiar structure that leans naturally towards paralleling the story of identity and influence.

Andrews, C  2019, Character and Structure: An Unholy Alliance, Creative Manuscript Services, Canberra

Burroway, J  2015, Imaginative Writing, 4th ed, Pearson, Boston.

Kress, N  2011, ‘Part One: Beginnings,’ Elements of Fiction Writing – Beginnings, Middles & Ends, pp. 11 – 19, Writers Digest Publications, Cincinnati, Ohio.



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