Young adult historical fiction can offer readers conflict and alternative ways of being that can help adolescents navigate the path to adulthood.
Notions of genre are increasingly slippery and difficult to pin down in contemporary novels. To what extent does Michael Pryor’s Hour of Need draw on features of more than one genre? What are the effects of such intermingling of genres and especially their ideological implications?
This process of writing a novel is a totally fascinating experience: watching the ebb and flow of my creativity and motivation, working out what time of day I am most productive, learning how to be flexible with my routine, realising the importance of keeping some way of recording flashes of inspiration with me at all times, spending more time with my characters than my friends (or at least it feels that way!) and having it dawn on me that a novel contains a hell of a lot of words…and I have to write them all!
Through careful characterisation, Catherine Jinks positions readers of Pagan’s Crusade to initially dislike the character of Joscelin, an old acquaintance of the protagonist, Pagan. Jinks’ use of flashbacks within a chronological narrative structure, give insight into Joscelin’s shady past and simultaneously implicates Pagan in events that have potential to compromise the readers’ initial admiration of the protagonist. Pagan’s Crusade is a dialogic novel. Mike Cadden argues that, “The dialogic or double-voiced text represents voices as equal and provides alternative interpretation that offer, in their aggregate, no single and final answer for the reader.” (Cadden, M., 2000, pp. 147). Jinks uses time shifts and creates in Pagan a first person unreliable narration, in which the reader discovers a level of comprehension for Joscelin’s situation and an awareness of how difficult life was in Jerusalem in 1187. In presenting a past association between Joscelin and Pagan, Jinks encourages readers to compare these two seemingly contrasting characters. As a result of Jinks’ strategies of double-voicedness, readers see both characters as well-rounded and human, making human decisions and errors; this in turn enables readers to identify with the characters, feel empathy for them, struggle with the same questions and feel as though they are making their own opinions of these characters.
Today I am looking at Annabella’s goals and desires. To have the protagonist’s goals impeded by something or someone builds conflict in a story, and this is my intention today: conflict.
Authors may have a commitment to writing, but inspiration and enthusiasm, it seems, come in waves. After months of writing, I am stuck and I need your help.