Sunday, November 13, 2005

Brooding Instint

That is the title of my NaNoWriMo novel. I linked it (this post title) to the writer profile page on the NaNoWriMo site where I just posted a short excerpt. Be advised that the flash version of that page truncates the excerpt by over a hundred words, cutting it off in mid sentence but the non flash version has it intact. Don’t know if that is my browser’s problem or what but it is frustrating.

Anyway, the theme of my novel is rooted in..well roots, among other things. Generations and the generating of generations. Life and the instinct for regeneration. Blood relations and the loyalty and betrayal of them. The protagonist, Vivian, raised in a fundamentalist sect, returns after a number of years away, to confront the demons of despair which plague her life and sabotage her every effort to apprehend happiness. In the years she was gone, she has gotten her medical degree, married not only outside the faith but outside her race and conceived a child.

Those of you who have been following this blog for some time might recognize what looks like autobiography here. But it is not in any direct sense. I am basing the mileu of the fundamentalist sect she was raised in loosely on my personal experience of having been raised in one. But none of the events or elements of the plot or characters are remotely autobiographical. This is the first time that I have created characters and a plot rooted in the specific culture in which I was raised and I must confess that it feels a bit like coming home from a long journey to alien worlds. It has actually been an effort to refrain from creating such characters and plots. I imagine it would be like anyone raised in one ethnic or racial group but attempting to write only for and about another one. Such efforts cannot help but be shallow and lacking in integrity.

There are a lot of pitfalls potentially in the path here. I have avoided doing this for so long not only because the subject is still a raw nerve for me but because, altho I want to confront and question the doctrine, I do not want to depict the fundamentalists as loosers, loonies or self-lobotomized. I want to create real, complex, multi-dimensional characters with motivations that the most secular can comprehend and thus empathize with even when they can’t agree with the premises underpinning their convictions.

The complexity of this theme and its nearness to the raw nerve in my own psyche exposed by the recent death of my father, is not conducive to completing this novel in a month. But I am not sorry I tried for I have 5000 words that I did not have two weeks ago and a story with a half dozen characters breathing life into me as I breathe it into them. It has not been a fruitless exercise, whatever else comes of it. I now have Brooding Instinct and Brooding Instinct has me.

2 tell me a story:

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