Monday, November 14, 2005

A lesson in craft from ULYSSES

It is sacriligeous to refer to ULYSSES in terms of the craft (as opposed to art) of writing?

I still haven't been able to read a new page yet due to my tsunami novel revision. But I got to thinking today about character voice. In my novel there are two protagonists, a Western teenaged girl and Acehnese teenaged boy. Chapters alternative in their points of view. Obviously there is a cultural difference between them, but I will also have to have a difference in their introspective voices.*

As in ULYSSES. Here's the internal voice of Leopold Bloom, pulled pretty much at random (he is thinking of his pregnant wife): Got big then. Had to refuse the Greystones concert. My son inside her. I could have helped him on in life. I could. Make him independent. Learn German.

And here's that precious Stephen Dedalus: Wombed in sin darkness I was too,made not begotten. By them the man with my voice and my eyes and a ghostwoman with ashes on her breath...warring his life long on the contransmagnificand jewbantangiality.

So, an inspiration from the master how to differentiate a voice.

*But just touch of introspection. My editor is expecting a riveting page turner, which is sort of unlike ULYSSES.


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