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Workshop, plus bonus Scene

So tonight my writing class workshopped the first part of James Eyre. It was kind of a weird experience because it was a WIP and also only a couple familiar with what I was really doing/time period, and for feedback I sat there and kept quiet while people said this or that which wouldn't have been an issue if they were more familiar with 19th c. stuff. (Fairy references, btw? Not humorous. Actually kind of threatening and implying sexual deviance.) When I did explain a little bit at the end, it was suggested I could explain some things like the fairy reference via footnotes, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. Very meta and postmodern and this is, y'know, unironically 19th c.

So. Several helpful things were said, but some things, not so much. Must contemplate.

Anyway, we also have a weekly assignment to write at least a couple hundred words of something for weeks when we aren't workshopping. So here's a scene of--something--I banged out over my post-class snack just now:

I’d all but inhaled the rice and fish because I was so hungry, so the daifuki afterwards is a relief. No one else wants theirs—glutinous rice and red bean paste and black sesame seeds aren’t the ideal dessert for most Americans—so by default I end up with my share and then some.

I eat mine first, and then Jamie pushes the little packet of his over to me to finish off too. Gabe toys with his, bouncing it between his palms like a hackey-sack or something. Chris eats part of his and makes a face, and that’s how I get the rest of his. By then it’s melted into a sticky white mess peppered with black spots, and I have to use my fingers to clean out the wrapper.

“Oh my God, what are you, twelve?” Chris is being generous because eating goo off my hands is undignified as hell, so at best I’m resembling a four year old, but I don’t care because yum.

“Mmph,” I say through my last mouthful of sweetness. “Thut up!” I lick my thumb clean. “It’s tasty!”

“That’s just gross, Jay,” Gabe says with raised eyebrows that are one part amused derision and two parts genuine disapproval. “Really.”

“What?” It comes out sharper than I mean to, but, really, WTF? He’s been riding me all day and giving me nothing but crap while we’re on the job, and so at break when I have something to look forward to (y’know, sugar), he has to make even that difficult.

Boys. God give me patience.

Instead of answering, Gabe just gives me another dark look, then turns it into one of his smug smiles as he turns to Chris. “Ready to get this thing done?”

“You got it, boss-man,” Chris says with his typical good humor. The three of them stand and I scramble to follow, wadding the messy plastic up and tossing it into the trash. It’d be nice to have time to wash my hands, but I follow them instead, and wonder what craptastic task Gabe’s going to give me next.


( 9 comments — Add your .02 )
Jan. 31st, 2012 06:10 am (UTC)
So they stuck you with a group who never even read Jane Auten let alone saw an adapt of it (not counting the hour long butchering).

I feel for you. maybe you can have study group, get them drunk and make them watch all the A&E/BBC/PBS Austen era series.

DAIFUKIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!! Dame now i'm going to have to go to the local OK-KO market in the day time.
Jan. 31st, 2012 11:58 am (UTC)
No knowledge of 19th century literature? o_O *is a bit boggled*

Glad some helpful things were said though :)

Jan. 31st, 2012 02:41 pm (UTC)
It's weird isn't it? It's not just me being a snob or something, right??
Jan. 31st, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
No, it is really weird o_OOO
Jan. 31st, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
*boggles with you*
Jan. 31st, 2012 01:20 pm (UTC)
A writing group not familiar with 19th c. literature and that has not read Jane Eyre? WTF?
Jan. 31st, 2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
There was one Victorianist in the crew and she enjoyed it/got it. Afterwards she expressed concern because she's working on a piece with a similar historical voice--I mean, really what threw people off was the 19th c. voice. Like, there's one of the prof's comments:

I wonder if some specifics throughout the narrative that can distinguish you from all the books that have been written in this voice will help to create a new world. Your world. The world you can only show us…
For example… if this was my story and I applied my world it would look like this… “James Eyre the son of bootleggers who cleaned up and now live in a house big enough to bunk the entire yankee baseball team, had placed the ad in the paper. His dad got killed in South Africa dressed in his military clothes but shot by his mistress. But no one talked about that, in his photo hung in the library he sat decorated and James watched that photo like a ghost. James was a spittin image…

I have *no* idea what to really do with this, I really don't. *is so befuddled* And it makes me hesitant in picking other pieces to share, because if they have issues with understand James Eyre WTH are they going to do with seventeenth century printers and horse-lords???? Should I try to do something contemporary just to get some feedback I understand??????
Jan. 31st, 2012 03:22 pm (UTC)
Wait, what? I'm even more confused that you are. Does that mean the prof wants you to modernize it? NOOOOOOOO. DDD8 IMO the prose is one of the best parts of 19th c. lit. PLEASE DON'T CHANGE A THING. *clings*
Jan. 31st, 2012 03:36 pm (UTC)
*cuddles and pets* I'm definitely not changing anything voice-wise for this piece.

(Actually that was another funny thing, I *really* confused them by saying the story was a gift for a friend and not something I planned to publish or something like that. Writing for fun was kind of exotic, go figure!)

Also actually I feel better since others are confused too, because I've been fretting that maybe my confusion stems from ego/protectiveness/whatever.

And some things were conflicting, like some people were hesitant because the story was "telegraphed", ie if you know Eyre and Rochester hook up, what's the point? While others were, as I mentioned before, thrown off by the cultural references. Sooo I'm just confused, and I recognize that you can't please everyone, but it's hard to know what to work on/improve if it's conflicting, I guess?
( 9 comments — Add your .02 )

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