|Happy writers! Join me for the next OCWMC in Oxford|
Sydney leads off with a continuation of her previous reading. Seeking more mystery, dream-like, not a good guy or bad guy, reacting character. She wonders if she should rewrite from another character's perspective. Haldor, archbishop, abbot. There is a great deal of mysterious feel to this, intrigue. Character reluctant to turn when another person enters the public house. There is a tortured memory of someone recently dying. Sydney's narrative is intensely intriguing, weighty, epic-feeling, maybe even dark. Asmon arrests in the name of the king. Evocative description that seems very much to matter, not merely dangling description as an end in itself, but then again, I find myself drawn in by the description but not sure what is happening to whom. What she describes in the trees and the forest, the prison, the cathedral, the plain--all seems to be painting the world that encircles her characters. There is also a lyric character to Sydney's writing, prose that reads almost like poetry. I do think that the movement of characters and what concerns them, what they are doing, is almost subsumed in the rich, vivid, layered description of the cathedral. It does seem like the atmosphere, the mystery is almost more important than your characters. Haldor sees his mother's grave again. We're done here, seemed to me to be out of step with the high-register verbiage of the rest of the narrative, too informal, modern-world. The stabbing scene came out of context to my ear. I was not quite clear what was happening, though I was caught up in the narrative so remained intrigued.
Cheyenne has read this manuscript on the page and felt that it was much clearer when reading than when just listening. We seemed to agree that she should stick with Haldor's perspective.
Cheyenne decided to reread the same chapter that she read last time she was with us, a very good idea. She hired an editor, who asked her if she was willing to put in lots of hours in rewriting and revision. A good question. That's just good writing: rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Sci-fi, sort of medieval Japan-esque setting. Her editor read both versions and encouraged Cheyenne to press on. First-person pov, interacting with Amanda. Juliette is our main character. I thought the description of the sun dappled on the ground was going to be a pleasant description, but then you began to describe excessive heat, discomfort. Several of your throw-away comments didn't work to my ear, not sure what you were accomplishing with them. Character development? Transitional material? I found the terror, fear for her life, death imminent, falling (but I was not sure what had gone wrong, what was happening that made her fear imminent death), was abrupt, especially after the casual tone of the earlier part of the chapter. Good skydiving metaphor. Falling... And she left us mid-fall.
John felt the falling through the roots was abrupt, confusing. Sydney commented that the story reminded her of Aslan saying that people always get what they want but they don't always like it.
Argh, I had to run pick up my daughter, so stepped out and missed some of the critique. John read from Saving Grace and received valuable help from the others.
I read from the second half of The Resistance.
Five Inkblots gathered in the Scriptorium this evening, beautiful sunset over the ridge, cows mooing, goats bawling, over the fence..
I was voted to read off first, not my usual. I read from the most recent finished chapter in The Resistance.
Rachel Ng reads from her 1940s era yarn. Rachel was concerned about too much dialog, her longest passage of all dialog ever written. I think it worked very well. It was so rooted in clothing, visual for the reader. Were there peticoats in the 40s? Celia is a paperdoll, someone you cannot touch. Rachel Haas and Alisa made far more comments, maybe because they are women and understand. We discussed how this passage appeals more to women than to men readers. That's okay but important for a writer to know. These are realities, like them or not, call them sexist or not, but male readers are a different kettle of fish. As the French say, vive la differance ! Rachel thinks of herself as a mole, burrowing through the holes of human emotion (her words). Rachel likes to write about Russian things, but claims she does not set out to do so. No Moscow DNA in her gene pool, not a drop.
Alisa asked us to pray that she will finish The Emblem this fall.