After a couple weeks off, I managed to get a fair amount down in words this week. This is my third attempt to get a story going for my dissertation, and thankfully it seems to be working. Unfortunately, it means that I’m having to compress much of the development as I really should be close to editing by now.
As much as I love the work of Pratchett, I’ve tried not to write like him for two reasons. First of all, he was a freakin’ genius. Best leave that alone rather than screw it up with a sub-par dedication. Secondly, I’ve always found his style to produce a different story than the one I wanted to tell.
That said – time is a thing, and it keeps bringing deadlines closer. So I’m leaning into aspects of Pratchetism, and finding that aside from an abundance of footnotes, it doesn’t read a derivatively as I thought. Though I suppose that will be up to everyone else when its published (*hopefully* as a novelette, but at the very least on this website). When it is, I hope you enjoy it as much as I’m starting to enjoy reading it. Until then, have a journal entry!
Journal – Week 6
While the change in my story has meant a significantly different plot and protagonist, it remains similarly complex in the sense that I need to stop trying to condense a novel into a novelette and just write the story within the parameters I have. So when Kress gives options of backfill, flashback, or a continuation of story time (2011, p. 21), the most obvious choice for me is a continuation. Push through, get the story written, then pepper with backstory as required later.
A bit of an experiment I’m using to create backstory with footnotes, in what is becoming an evidently more Pratchett-inspired style than I initially intended. The other element I need to include shortly though is the antagonist – in this case, Toris, a Zeus-styled character, head of the at-risk Pantheon of the story. Toris sits both outside the society he influences and is the centre of it as a point of worship. To achieve the aim of demonstrating the two-way influences of social and individual identity, I’ll need to lean into the Pratchett-esque style and intend to make Toris a relatable villain (Cockrell 2006).
While it has been a bit of an accident, I think this sets up a nice parallel to the theme. Toris is viewed as a kind, generous, and strong deity. Yet in realising his own mortality as a very real possibility, he becomes paranoid, selfish, and absorbed in the single task of eliminating the protagonist (who poses the risk simply by existing). He will never be an average person, but the fear of death and fear of the unknown experience will make him vulnerable to the same pitfalls as those that worship him, and will therefore have an unintended impact on them.
Essentially, while not technically a ‘man’ I’m aiming for the tone set by the following Pratchett quote:
It was much better to imagine men in some smoky room somewhere made mad and cynical by privilege and power, plotting over the brandy. You had to cling to this sort of image, because if you didn’t then you might have to face the fact that bad things happened because ordinary people, the kind who brushed the dog and told their children bedtime stories, were capable of then going out and doing horrible things to other ordinary people.
– Sir (P)Terry Pratchett, Jingo
Cockrell, A 2006. ‘Where the falling angel meets the rising ape: Terry Pratchett’s ‘Discworld’’, Hollins Critic, vol. 43, no. 1,. Gale Academic OneFile, viewed 26 April 2020 https://link-gale-com.ezproxy.cqu.edu.au/apps/doc/A146741916/AONE?u=cqu&sid=AONE&xid=a89cdfe7.
Kress, N 2011, ‘Chapter Two: The Later Beginning – Your Second Scene’, in Elements of Fiction Writing – Beginnings, Middles & Ends, pp. 20 – 25, Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio, viewed 25 April 2020, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,sso&db=nlebk&AN=418270&site=ehost-live&authtype=sso&custid=s3716178&ebv=EK&ppid=Page-__-20.
Pratchett, T 1997, Jingo, Gollancz, London