So for those of you who have read my blog posts before you may have noticed that although I freely share opinions and thoughts I seem to actively avoid sharing information that would let you in on who I am. And by that I mean as far as I’m aware the only pieces of information you can really know about me are that I have siblings, am depressed and I currently reside in England. I don’t believe I have ever inadvertently confirmed my gender, race, sexuality or even my nationality (My pen name was carefully chosen to make it as unhelpful as possible). I do this on purpose, I’m not just withdrawn from sharing personal attributes because it’s awkward. In part this is because I enjoy the boost in confidence that anonymity provides me with. I’m not sure I would have ever had the confidence to release my work into the world under my own name. But most importantly for me I do this because I loathe psychoanalytical literary criticism.
If you have studied literature you have probably come across this form of reading a text before and you will also probably have your own opinion of it. But for those of you who read for the joy of it and not the study of it and thus have not come across psychoanalytical readings before I’ll try my best to explain it and why I hate it. Essentially you take a critical approach to a text (critical, not necessarily meaning negative) in which you try to use Freud’s and later psychologists work to understand the motives of the author (It can be used to study the characters but more often I have seen it used to study the author). The critical reader is on the look out for Freudian slips, signs of an oedipal complex or examples of the id, ego and superego at work. Taking carefully constructed character information and relating it to the author’s life. Suggesting the author has chosen to write a character in a certain way or write about a certain topic because their subconscious mind has led them to it. For me the phrase ‘what a crock of sh*t’ springs to mind.
I don’t simply sit down and write a stream of consciousness (or subconsciousness). I have worked hard to create fully formed characters with their own motivations that have exactly zero relation to my own life. Each of my important characters has a character sheet saved on my computer. They each have a list of personality traits, a fully formed life story and a sense of the natural instincts. I can hear phrases in the real world or on the television and think ‘oh that sounds like something so and so would say’. It’s not something I have thought but I can attribute it to a character I have created. To avoid two dimensional characters I strive to know my characters inside and out because it gives them more depth to know what flavour ice cream they prefer. Granted you have not yet been introduced to many of the characters I have created and it so far it could easily be said they aren’t so vastly different. But I hope as you progress through my writing you will begin to see the range in character that only becomes apparent when you have familiarised yourself with them. I hope you don’t look at my work and say ‘oh yes, such differing characters, two white English people with blue eyes, both living in London, a round of applause for this idiot.’ because honestly I swear They are just the very tip of the ice berg.
And the events that happen in my story are not just merrily made up as I go along. I work hard at creating interesting plots as far as the science fiction goes and believable events as far as the characters lives go. Like with my characters it’s all carefully thought out and noted down on my computer with a complete timeline lasting for quite some time into the future. No slap dash bunch of made up crap is going to have my pen name on it…
And while I’m on the topic of critical reading I’d also like to mention that I’m also not a fan of the “death of the author” idea either. This is another literature study thing that suggests what the author intended to write is irrelevant because it is your reading that is important. Perhaps because I am someone who enjoys rules and order I also seek to know the most true answer. When there is a question to be answered I am very rarely satisfied when I’m told there are no wrong answers. That’s as maybe but surely there is one answer that is more right than the others? When I read I want to know what the author meant if it seems ambiguous. I want to know why the author chose specific character interactions and their opinion matters to me. I hope I am not just being biased by my own tenuous claims to authorship when I say that the author is important to me and i refuse to accept the death of the author.
If you are interested in other types of critical readings I will gladly talk some more about them and if you want them I’ll share my opinions on them, just let me know. And please ask any questions you like if I have anything unclear.
I’ll be releasing Chapter Four: The Worst Laid Plans tomorrow which I hope you will enjoy. Also I forgot to say Happy Thanksgiving to anyone last week (in my defence it’s easy to forget it in a country that isn’t America) so I hope you all had a lovely time with family and friends.