Creation Myth Revised – Another Draft of My Novel
Just last Thursday, I submitted another draft of my novel to Doug Rice. It felt wrong to blog when I was supposed to be “writing like the Dickens.” In any case, now I can breathe a little before he gets back to me with feedback.
My last meeting with Rice, which followed my Collective Reading Series reading, went much better than our first. At one point, Rice leaned back into his chair and said, “Well, Jen, it’s better. I was worried I’d have to give you another talk,” (ie. the one where he doesn’t think I’ll be able to complete my project in time to graduate). I’m relieved, but at the same time, feel so sick to my stomach to have come so close to congenital thesis failure. At our previous meeting, Rice suggested that I:
- Bring out more of my protagonist’s character in the creation myth, having her engage more and interrupt, perhaps with questions that would reveal something of her personality.
- Focus on what the grandmother, who is telling the creation story, is trying to convey to the protagonist. What is she trying to communicate and why?
- Bring central themes of the novel into the creation myth prologue.
- Train scene: Slow down so that protagonist can focus on what she is seeing.
- Create another scene where protagonist can interact more with another character.
- Bring more warmth to the narrator’s voice.
The opening italicized section is simply a generic origin myth, so I’m not certain what all is accomplished with it? I know why you as a writer might want to include it but since it remains so generic, I am not certain how it moves the story into the place it needs to be as it begins. In other words, how specifically, and in a concrete way does it set the particular story into motion and by setting the story in motion, set its theme into motion (aside from the obvious and the general…By the way, I am not saying to drop the origin myth but you have to do more with it if you keep it.
Since then, I’ve done a lot of work with the creation myth, and it’s working out to be one of my favorite parts of the novel. So, I have a lot to thank Rice for–essentially, he’s helped me improve the shakiest part of my novel that I’d been terrified to tackle. He also told me that my ability to choose scenes has gotten better since my 230A class with him.
In other news, hoorah to Robin Martin, and her recent reading at the “Soul Making Awards Reading” on March 22nd. Our Professor Emeritus, Dr. Mary Mackey was in attendance and is a judge for next year’s competition. Actually, it was in Mackey’s Grandmother, Mother, Me class where I first met Robin.
I’m so jealous of Robin sometimes. She seems to be living some kind of writer lifestyle that I haven’t gotten to yet: working with Narrative Magazine, winning awards, and getting awful (yet satisfying) rejection slips via snail mail–I haven’t the courage yet to set out and be my own kind of Robin, but maybe that comes after graduation.