Some pre-class notes first: Sat down with Jim Murphy and we exchanged critiques. I was in ninja costume so my notes to him were mostly of the cut and slash style. I love Jim’s narrative voice. It’s like settling down to storyhour. Unfortunately, a lot of the intricate details he provides do tend to slow down the reading just when it should be getting towards the climax and this is where I did a lot of commenting (thanks to iPages!). Jim’s imagery is terrific so I of course left that alone. His dialogue as well is just real and in character and here is where he does a lot of pacing of narrative so beautifully.
Jim went through the hypertext A Bottle of Beer again in its sleek new version and he caught some rough points that I either didn’t realize, or that I was too lazy to fix. He was more than complimentary and I gave full permission to steal a couple of instances of imagery–though with Jim’s creative output, he sure won’t need them. I do love getting Jim’s critique notes–he puts in some comments that just make me laugh out loud–and that’s his intent. One thing that he brought up that was very interesting to me was his own opinion of who the runner represented–past lovers moving through her life. This would make sense as it parallels her own reflections of the hour. I still think it’s the devil though…
In class we did an exercise on writing a scenario with a main character and some action, then pulling out specific words or themes that are relative to the character. How one would describe himself or his tendencies using specific words, then defining those words.
I won’t bother putting down here what I’d written in class–the character really didn’t help me by developing at all and it’s likely the worst trash I’ve ever written. I do admire the other students who to a one delivered well rounded characters in the first few paragraphs of story. It was proven helpful to go over the words they had chosen as defining the viewpoint of their character and to establish from there the most likely path the character would take through his adventure.
The last portion of class was devoted to Porcellino’s Perfect Example, and we learned how to apply the "word selection and definition" to this character. ‘Size’ is an excellent word, as it implies how the character sees himself in comparison to his world. ‘Invisibility’ is another choice that would give us an idea of how he relates to the world, and how he feels within it. ‘Intimacy’ represents his reluctance or lack of ability to form a closeness with others–which seems to fit in well with the previous two word selections.
We were reminded to read Raymond Carver’s Cathedral for next week.