Sunday, September 16, 2007

Finding My Beat and Chugging Along

Yesterday really was a big, good day.

I wrote two pages in the novel, read a bit in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance, wrote a couple pages in the novel and found a bunch of interesting books for the project on Amazon.

FINDING GOOD SOURCES AT
AMAZON.COM AND WRESTLING WITH RESEARCH


Amazon surprised me with the selection of sources for Brook Farm. I had feared that I would have had to go back to Boston or compensate a friend to get sources from the Boston Public Library since a lot of stuff in bibliographies are from out of print journals and magazines (including the the Boston Public Library Quarterly and New England Quartlerly), letters and legal documents.

Lucky for me, though, on Amazon has at least one book of compiled letters from community members. That could be just about all I need to write this paper. Right now, I've got something of an idea of what I want to write about, as I've read enough about the "big picture" and philosophical underpinnings for Brook Farm. Now I just need to get concrete experiences, reactions and reflections to figure out how well they accomplished their goal and/or embodied the main characteristic of utopia, existential integration (if that's really the right term).

I'm not so sure how much patience I'll have doing the more concrete research with primary sources. For awhile during the last couple months, I had retreated to reading more abstract stuff, like philosophy, psychology and the history of ideas. Yeah, I've read here and there into history, but more interpretations of history or larger sweeping overviews of it, nothing focusing on day-to-day matters or actual writing by people going through it.

I just feel like there will be a lot of details to weed through and organize. It's rather intimidating, especially since I've had a fair amount of trouble dealing with the last two historical papers I wrote, where I had one source (which was both primary and secondary) for one and two primary sources for another. I had to refer to other sources for theory and such, but I had a fair amount of trouble going through just a few things, compared to this paper which will require me to go through a whole bunch.

Those other paper's sources, however, already had a fair amount interpretation in them already. Maybe it'll be different when I deal with just primary sources with a much less "qualified" and objective interpretation. I'll be the one who gets to be objective and theoretical about it.

Now I just worry about reading secondary sources and finding out that someone else has written what I'm intending to write. The question here is: should I read those other sources that look like they're saying the same thing and try to adjust my theory or writing style, or should I ignore those until afterward. I remember reading somewhere that bachelors literature professors often don't want the student to read secondary sources so that they won't be stymied writing and can flex their lit crit muscles.

Guess I'll just have to develop my approach as I encounter things. Such is life.

NOVEL WRITING

So I feel great about actually getting myself to sit down and churn two pages out. Those two pages feel a little weird, though. They were mostly retelling of parts in the story that the reader would have already read, just with a different characters reaction to it.

I can't really get that much deeper into it without possibly giving things away, but it involves changing points of view and video surveillance, with this one character mostly experiencing the story through the surveillance. Throughout most of the story, he will see what all the characters are doing as they do it.

This approach with this character really creates some difficulty. I don't want to bore the audience, but he's a very important character who has important reactions to the things that happen.

After I'm done with the rough draft, I will have to do some major rewriting and re-mapping. And as I've said in the past, having this knowledge and the ideas floating to the top while I'm writing makes writing in the current style somewhat difficult. I need to draft it this way, though, so I can have a good idea of who will be where when and how and why. I feel somewhat like a journalist, except that the drafting is my research for the story and the real story can't come out in a simple outline or something.

Right now, the story has been coming out somewhat linear in a traditional fashion, at least from four characters' point of view. I'm starting to think instead of having a linear storytelling from each of the point of views, the story, itself, will get the linear treatment (as much as possible).

In other words, instead of dedicating one chapter to a respective point of view, I'll probably float between the points of view more freely, to cut down on storytelling redundancy but possibly increase some reader confusion. Not to worry, though, I think the confusion will probably be kept to a minimum.

This won't reach the level of Faulkner. If anything, it'll be like if the island in LOST with the occasional forays into other character's consciousness or even just Heroes with tighter storytelling and no mutant superpowers.

THE PERSONAL STUFF

The cable tech came about 15 minutes after 1, with my service blocking being between 1 and 5. I was right, the wire going from the outdoors into the bedroom was broken.

I had to sharply tell the tech that he didn't have to go downstairs to check the building's central box, he just need to look at the particular wire. He did, and the wire came apart with a stern tug. Apparently, some animal had been chewing on it and/or wear and tear just wore through it.

Now that saga's done. It's kind of sad that our relationship was ruptured because of the whole thing, but at least it's over.

Today, pretty much taking it easy with the wife and doing some chores. If I do anything writing-wise, it's this blog and doing a second read on someone else's submission to the writing workshop.

Maybe I'll purchase a couple books for bachelor's project source material, too, on Amazon. If I do, I'll go through the "Amazon portal" at WBUR.org the website for the Boston University-based NPR station. Amazon will give a portion of my sale to WBUR.org.

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