Dissertation Diary, I have neglected you. I apologise. *Apology accepted* Good! Let’s carry on.
I’ve not actually detailed much of my dissertation and what it is about so it’s time to do that and to allow some closely guarded information to slip through the net. I have had this idea since the summer and starting back at university. Four months on, I’ve stuck to it. I’ve had my doubts and I’ve had to do some very morbid reading about leukaemia and cancer. But I’ve also been able to do some rather joyous reading and researching about this beautiful thing:
Yes this is the wonderful beauty of nature that is the Aurora Borealis. Set in 2012, the story is about a young man, who is just about to lose his battle with illness, and wants to see this wonderful sight before his time is up. He enlists the help of his elder sister and his best friend to drive him up to the farthest reaches of Scotland where the event is uniquely visible at this time. Capers along the way, drama, races against time; all ensue. Along with a secret agenda of the young mans, involving his friends, that will affect the rest of their lives.
Out of the 300 or so odd words I had previously, none remain. But I’m currently up to nearly 2000 new words. Which is 1/5th of the entire 10,000 I have to do. Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll have that all written and I can leave it for a week before some serious re-writing. One of the hardest things (other than names, I’m terrible at naming characters) is deciding on a style for the piece. The stories I’ve written have very much defined my voice now and I think I can quite confidently write and create a piece that is me. But by style I mean this: how should it look? This isn’t a very long novella, so should I break it up into chapters? Smaller pieces of an overall arc? Or should I just go for it as one dense piece. I’ve decided at the moment to go for chapters, which can always change (thank you word processors). I also need to work out how to write something without giving it away too much but also without spoiling everything. I can’t say it yet, because I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment should you get to read it. But everyone that does know the secondary plot line likes it. Also I must attempt to avoid anything completely cliche. Which, I’m sure you’ll all appreciate, is a complete arse to do.
I have to present this story to my creative writing colleagues and tutors on Thursday in the form of a presentation. Of course this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. In fact I may well take my earlier blurb on my story in with me, that looks pretty succinct. I’d already completed this plan where I had suggested certain books I’d read. My tutor met with me, obviously completely aware of my style of writing and ambition, and told me to read two books, neither of which I’d thought of. Those being Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (a natural choice I suppose given the setting) and a book that exemplifies the quest genre with my satirical British wit. That being The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy books by Douglas Adams. At that point in our meeting that I pull out my iPhone to show that I was re-listening to the radio show at that very moment. Clever timing.
So maybe I’ll update you again when the presentation is over. In the mean time I’ve lots of other things to read, write, panic about, think about and watch. Here’s a link to the above picture from the BBC website and here’s some audio that I’ll be listening to whilst writing. You can listen too, thanks to the magic of the internet!
Read: White Noise – Don DeLillo, The Thin Man – Dashiell Hammett
Reading: Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy