Author's Notes for The Human Touch
Firstly, thank you for your time and attention! I'm very proud of this story. It still moves me when I read it, which may be the result of ego or just being in love with my own 'baby.'
This piece has been workshopped before. It's actually a few years old. I try not to 'rest on my laurels' and re-flog older work. I'm here to expand my craft, not to gain acclaim for stuff already done. Please note that I do appreciate and act on critiques even to this piece. One review pointed out a typo, for example. I corrected that in short order.
My intent in posting this is as an example of the 'journal voice' for a fellow FPie. For discussion's sake, here's what I keep in mind when I write a 'dear diary' story:
- The author is writing longhand, so most people tend to summarize and 'jump straight into the action.' Writing longhand takes effort, and consumes time, so the writer will likely try to keep it as short as possible.
- Because it takes effort, rarely is dialogue quoted. Key phrases might earn a verbatim quote, but no whole passages of dialogue.
- Because it takes so much time to write a sentence, the author's mind will likely 'think ahead', so the wording will likely be in the highest, most educated 'voice' the user can learn.
Of course, that's the case for this journal, that of an educated lady from the last century. Journals these days may be full of text speak or abbrvs.
- The purpose of most journals is not to record for posterity's sake (i.e., not to be read by anyone else), so context is usually sparse and assumed. This is contrary to most rules of writing, so the fine balance of making it sound like the fictional author assumes the reader (which is the fictional author) knows the background, and the requirement to give the real reader enough supporting information, must be carefully maintained.
In this story, it's done by careful phrasing and 'leakage' of clues so, by the end of the story, we know how Constance and Aloysius met, how she came to be alone, her relationship with Sinclair, the Mcallister manor butler, and the conflict and troubles facing her.
Another possiblity is to include 'newspaper clippings' or 'scrapbook' entries. While these may require formatting tricks to offset, they may suffice to get some particularly evasive fact across.
- In contrast to almost all of the above, a modernized equivalent might be the 'blog story', which is for public consumption, is written stream-of-consciousness (so colloquisms may abound), etc. The above hint about 'newspaper clippings' can be replaced by comments to slip the reader those key facts.
Again, thank you all for your time. I welcome thoughts on this colophon as well as reviews and critiques on the work itself.