Monday, 28 June 2010

Chapter three and depression

Editing chapter three has thrown up a number of interesting problems. First problem is point of view: POV. The chapters all start with the POV of the main character, Emma, but then segue into the second character, Lily. I suppose I could write Emma's first person thoughts then go to Lily's more grounded third person limited omniscience viewpoint (can you tell I did A215!). I always think my first person accounts are self conscious though, rather less free that the third person ones.

Using Holly Lisle's method makes sense, but it isn't easy, and it's a lot of work. I can't see any other way of doing it t though, and for all the moaning and faffing about with forms and coloured pens I am actually staying more objective than I would be if I rewrote it. Chapter four today - and then I can get on with planning a short story I've had wandering around in my head.

One of my daughters raised an interesting question that I'm exploring in the novel: 'Do you ever question your choice of partner?' i.e. her Dad. My immediate reaction was 'Every day.' I think we choose to be with each other every day, I don't think we should just think it's a done deal and no matter what happens we have to stay together. I've been single for a long period in my life and I rather liked it - I don't think I need to be in relationship, I choose to be in one because of all that emotional attachment we seemed to have formed. Over time, new stands of that connection have been woven in. Memories, shared difficulties, children's relationships, pets, the house, everything. My characters relationship is unravelling strand by strand. Interestingly, when the same question was put to my partner he said the same thing, sure, he thinks about it. I was a bit surprised (not that he does, I can be really difficult to live with, creative type and all that...) but that he was able to talk about it. Maybe he wanted her to know that was a) allowed and b) useful.

Which made me think about depression. Lots of members of my family wrestle periodically with depression, including me, and unlike the more fortunate ones, I haven't found a medication that remotely works. My sister didn't either, which, compounded with her bipolar disorder, led to her death. I spend some of the un-depressed months and years worrying about the depression creeping back. By the time I know I've got it it's usually too late to claw back from the edge. The last one lasted three years and was hell. There were days when I was paralysed by it, as if I were in unbearable pain and any movement made it worse. TV became my drug, which just sucks any creativity straight out the front of my skull. What little imagination I have left goes on thinking about what could go wrong, making me too anxious to enjoy going out or doing anything. It occurred to me that my main character has lived with the consequences of untreated depression for so long that, even if the depression has long gone, the life style has remained. Don't chance anything, don't get stressed, stay in, don't think too much about anything.

My last depression was broken when I started to write again, and hasn't come back (three years and counting). I'm hoping the move to Winchester won't pile on too much stress and precipitate another one. Even excitement is stressful. Maybe the writing is helpful in itself. Anyway, back to editing.

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