Assignment 3 – Reflective Commentary

My second assignment was a journey for me, but one that I wasn’t fully prepared for and it showed.  My tutor’s feedback came as little surprise and if anything, it gave me the impetus to ensure I was completely ready to write Assignment 3 before actually putting words on the page.

For Assignment 2, I took a character and setting that I want to form the basis of a future novel around and my enthusiasm to “get going” overtook my normal diligence with character development and plot structuring.  I didn’t know my character well enough; I wasn’t ready to write about her, yet I continued blindly on.  I didn’t know her name and this omission alienated the reader.

I didn’t focus on the assignment brief. I put my character into a small space where nobody could see her but she wasn’t actively trying to hide. For this third assignment, I’ve spent a lot more time looking at the brief.

I started off brainstorming the title of the essay “Journey by Night” and what it could mean. “Journey” could mean a real trip where distance is covered from one place to the next.  It could mean a personal journey, one of emotional discovery or development in mortality (like Artemis Fowl experiences in “The Arctic Incident”).  It could also mean a mission that needs to be accomplished, and in this case at night.

Night time is synonymous with a childhood fear of the dark.  It also brought to mind how people’s senses are heightened as their sense of sight is restricted.  Ghosts, disorientation, being alone and vulnerable.  All these things came to mind.

When planning this assignment, I considered casualty in my writing because my lack of character familiarity in Assignment 2 meant I lacked consistency, which compromised the continuity.  The story bounced around without anything tangible keeping it together.

I wanted to write about a male protagonist and for a male audience.  I also wanted an animal theme.  The plot of cruelty and neglect unfolded later.

I started with characterisation sheets for Doug, Rascal and Barrie; who they were, their environments, what motivated them, appearances and their current situations.  This developed into the story’s overall setting and gave each character context within the action.

I discovered Nigel Watt’s “Eight Point Arc” for structure during Part Three and I used this as the basis of plotting the storyline.

I knew that I wanted to try juxtaposition in my story, have two different but similar situations running concurrently that end up coming together, and I hope that I have executed this successfully.

The subject of abuse and animal cruelty was extremely difficult to write; I found myself becoming very emotional as I wrote. There seems very little that is “off limits” for children, and I felt it was important to try tackling a more harrowing subject.

I am pleased with this assignment.  I redrafted it three times before completing it and I feel the preparation time I spent in the beginning helped tighten my writing, make is plausible, and hopefully engage the reader more.