This week is all about developing the artefact, and in that sense most of my week has been trying to roll the shape of the story around in my head. I’m trying to step outside my comfort zone and do something that is notably different. As in all writing, having something truly original will be nigh on impossible, but part of the purpose of the artefact is ye olde academic tenet of finding new knowledge. To do that, I have to do things a little different to how I’ve done them before.
That said, as I wrote about last week, there needs to be a level of familiarity about whatever I do; for simplicity in the general enabling a focus on the detail, and for connection with the reader. I’m still struggling to geta hold of the story, but as it is fundamentally a character story which I’ve decided will be in first person, I’ve dedicated this week to working out exactly that element – the character.
While I’ve got a decent idea of what broad concept of my artefact will be, the details are proving difficult. As a result, this week is looking at a simplification approach, rather than ‘developing’ my artefact into something more complex or looking to build on anything that is already conceptualised.
Getting back to basics, so to speak, will be starting with the basic question of who is telling the story. According to McNally, a reader’s reaction to a narrator is often very personal (2013 p. 37). Therefore if this is to be a character based story, there needs to be some kind of connection between the protagonist (also the narrator) and the reader. A technique used in romance is in the vulnerabilities – regardless of how absurd a situation gets, as long as the protagonist has relatable vulnerabilities and insecurities, the reader will generally stay with the story (Umbarger 2018, p. 21). While not going for the absurdist approach (or the romance approach), there is a similar requirement for suspension of disbelief in my artefact. To get the reader to accept the unbelievable, then relatable vulnerabilities are a way encourage the reader to do so.
In writing the early stages, while the introduction of theme and foreshadowing of the escalation will be featured, the introduction of a relatable, flawed, and vulnerable narrator will be the foundation of the more complex and fantastical elements.
McNally, J 2010, ‘Thinking Outside Your Genre’, in The Creative Writer’s Survival Guide: Advice from an Unrepentant Novelist, University of Iowa Press, pp. 137 – 138.
Umbarger, M 2018, ‘Rom-Com Characters They’re just like us: Romance readers have a renewed appetite for relatable characters in lighthearted or absurdist situations. How are publishers making sure everyone is being served?’ Publishers Weekly, vol. 265, no. 46, pp. 19-26.