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violetangel
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

See, the thing is, while the focus changes from one character to another, the point of view (or perspective if you will) remains that of the narrator.  The chapters are not in the voice of the individual characters.  If they were, it might be easier to tell the characters apart because they would have their own voices.  As it is, one voice is telling the story, which makes it hard to distinguish the voices of the characters.

 

chris227 wrote:

Personally I enjoy changing the characters' persepctive from chapter to chapter.  I think that it provides for better insight into each character than if told from one character's point of view.  For example if the novel had remained entirely in Nancy's point of view the reader may never have found out about Gillian's cottage and the whole incident with the mouse (and Adam) which I think tells us a lot about her.  Though at times the switch seems almost unsettling because the reader wants to continue to hear about one particular character or event I think that the switching helps to keep my attention and makes me want to read more.  For those of you who were involved in the A Fortunate Age discussion I did not particlarly like the changing persepctive in that novel because it seemed as if too much was left out and I feel that it is done much more successfully in this novel thus far.

 

 

 

‎"No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anyone but oneself." -Virginia Woolf
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MSaff
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I think that this being the beginning of the novel/story, we needed to have the chapters or sections broken down into the individual characters.  I tends to give us a look into each character to see their flaws and even their positive sides. 

  I would have liked to see more information about Nancy, as it appears that she is the main character.  I guess that we will see more of her throughout the novel and will probably learn more about each of the characters. 

  When the Writing Circle gets together, we catch a glimpse of the group, but are left to our own devices as to how they really interact with each other.  Yes we do see some aspects, but as yet we aren't getting the full picture.

 

Rachel-K wrote:

 

What effect does switching the perspective from chapter to chapter have on your reading? Which characters did you want to stay with longer? 
Is Nancy the "main" character for you? If you feel she is, what do we gain or lose by not sticking only with her perspective to this point in the novel?
Which characters do you take to immediately? Do you dislike anyone immediately?
Whose chapter is most surprising? How would you describe the home lives of each of our characters?

 

Please use the following questions to start talking about The Writing Circle, and feel free to post your own thoughts and questions for the group, too.

 

Please remember that the "Chapter" threads stick to the chapters under discussion, and try not to include any spoilers from the reading after Chris' first chapter. (If I can count, that's chapter 10.)  Enjoy!

 

 

What effect does switching the perspective from chapter to chapter have on your reading? Which characters did you want to stay with longer? 


Is Nancy the "main" character for you? If you feel she is, what do we gain or lose by not sticking only with her perspective to this point in the novel?


Which characters do you take to immediately? Do you dislike anyone immediately?


How would you describe the home lives of each of our characters?

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

 

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
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brndygrl98
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

Is anyone else amused by the fact that we are all here critiquing a book about people who get together to critique books?? :smileytongue:

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literature
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

Even though the author would have you think Nancy is the main character, for me it is Gillian.  Everything seems to revolve around Gillian, maybe because she makes the most noise.  Even though she is not portrayed as someone who is easy to like, she is an interesting soul. 

 

Growing up poor and feeling deprived, I'm sure she vowed to better herself and never look back.   She still seems to harbor the resentment of knowing that other people just vacationed where she lived and then went home elsewhere.  She said she would never use her own personal life and/or experiences in her poetry but has no problem writing about anyone elses experiences.  To me she seems like a time bomb ready to explode.  Even though she tries to come across as being authoritative and confident, she can still be spiteful, manipulative and downright rude.  When Nancy praised her poetry, Gillian was left confused.  I guess meeting Nancy for the first time, she was expecting a different reaction.  Gillian talks about resentment.  As a gift to Bernard, she accepted Nancy even though she would have preferred a man; but not someone less successful because she didn't want to be resented.  She purposely did not make enough copies of her poem so she would run out when they were passed around and reached Nancy.  

 

She is married to Jerry but it seems like Jerry is her convenience.  They own their primary dwelling together but "Button" is her own house.  Just like the rich from her childhood, Button is her house to come and go in.  Jerry is only allowed to call her at Button when she leaves a message.  She refuses to own a cell phone.  She goes to her house to write and cuts off her ties with Jerry.  Her stepson, Paul, lives with them, but Gillian doesn't care about him, except when she feels like telling him some personal things about herself. 

 

 

She looks for flaws in other people to reinforce confidence in herself.  Gillian feels too small in the presence of petite women, her feet are too big.  She studied Nancy for imperfections, her earlobes are attached to her.   Chris invites Nancy out to lunch and tells her that "nobody likes Gillian".  She isn't someone to like, but to revere".  The purpose Gillian seems to serve in The Writing Circle is to throw out controversy so it is more of a well rounded, thought provoking discussion.

 

Then after all this, she wears a braid down to her waist.  How out of character does that seem.  And then there's the dead mouse and Adam.  Is she emulating Sybil or become The Three Faces of Eve?

 

Literature

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Cyscokitty
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

Every now and then, I enjoy reading books that switch perspective. It feels like reading a book of short stories. I didn't have too much trouble keeping up with the characters because they were each distinct enough.  

I would have to say that I don't really feel anyone is a main character at this point, but if I had to pick someone, I suppose it would have to be Nancy since we begin with her father's story.


I actually have more negative reactions that positive ones to the characters. I have no problem with Nancy, Virginia, Paul or Chris, but I really don't like Bernard or Gillian. Also, I find Aimee annoying - I want someone to slap her. That's probably because I love natural wood grain and I am deeply offended by her painting all the woodwork white.

 

I loved the description of Nancy's office. I work from my home and it's really important to me that I look out over a slightly wild garden and pond - helps keep me sane.

 

Also, I want to know a lot more about Chris. Since his relationships are only described from his perspective, I feel we're missing a big piece of the story. I'd love to have a chapter from his ex-wife's perspective.

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literature
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

 

brndygrl98 wrote:

Is anyone else amused by the fact that we are all here critiquing a book about people who get together to critique books?? :smileytongue:

 

Yes, it is amusing.  I think they will be a lot harder on each other than we will be on TWC.  After all, it is not us that is tryig to get published although when we post our review on B&N, you could say we'll be published...but without being critiqued!

 

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mediamissy
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

What effect does switching the perspective from chapter to chapter have on your reading? Which characters did you want to stay with longer? 

 

I don't know if this is the mainstay for writing these days but I feel like I am reading more and more novels that seem to do this, use changing perspectives as you read.  For me, I enjoy when perspectives overlap and I can see the situation from a variety  of points of view.  Of course there are times I wish they would keep going so I can see what happens next but I am sure that is a writers way of sustaining suspense.  For me, I certainly wanted to stay with Adam a little longer to see what he was thinking after leaving the group.  I also wanted to stay with Paul when he was at a crossroad.


Is Nancy the "main" character for you? If you feel she is, what do we gain or lose by not sticking only with her perspective to this point in the novel?

 

I don't necessarily believe that Nancy is the main character but I haven't really decided who is. There are moments when I feel Bernard may be because he has had links to several characters early on.  I also find Paul to be more of a focal point in some chapters than I would have expected of a character I would have placed in a secondary role initially.  It will be interesting to see who emerges.


Which characters do you take to immediately? Do you dislike anyone immediately?

 

I take to Virginia immediately.  She reminds me of the glue of the family or group in this matter. She seems even keeled and aware of people.  I like and dislike Bernard really.  I find him to be kind to Nancy and yet he also strikes me as arrogant.  I am not sure where I stand with him yet.



 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

 

I haven't found anyone's chapter surprising as of yet.

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Sunltcloud
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

...and without being paid. :smileyvery-happy: :smileysad:

 

 

literature wrote:

 

brndygrl98 wrote:

Is anyone else amused by the fact that we are all here critiquing a book about people who get together to critique books?? :smileytongue:

 

Yes, it is amusing.  I think they will be a lot harder on each other than we will be on TWC.  After all, it is not us that is tryig to get published although when we post our review on B&N, you could say we'll be published...but without being critiqued!

 

 

 

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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I don't mind the dis-jointed nature of switching character focus each chapter.  I do agree with the previous posters, though, that stated that while the focus of the chapters is on different characters, the "voice" is still from a single narrator's point of view which makes the characters seem flat.  If each character were allowed to voice their own chapters, they might come to life more and take on more distinct personalities.

 

As far as main characters go, Nancy is definately up there.  Gillian also seems to be a major player.

 

For me, I "took to" Nancy for the most part simply because we are introduced to her first.  We also are treated to a glimpse of her novel in once of the prefaces.  The characters I disliked immediately were Gillian and Adam.

 

 

Deanne
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Goodword
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I like novels that switch perspective as this one does--especially when there are overlaps in the accounts.  I like seeing the differing perspectives of the characters.

 

At first, Nancy certainly does feel like the main character of the novel, but I suspect that she is simply the inroad to the rest of the circle--we meet them through her.  It doesn't seem that the point of the story is to watch Nancy fit in and publish her novel.  There is more here.

 

For a short time, I was unsure about this novel.  I wasn't taking to many characters; in fact, I was disliking most of them.  I like Nancy well enough--I feel frustration at her timidity, because I recognize that quality in myself.  I like Virginia.  She is real, strong, mature.  I was surprised at how old she must be.  Her relationship with her ex-husband is unusual.  I liked the line that describes her current feelings for Bernard, "...the love she felt for Bernard was undamaged by frustration."  Virginia's description of Chris made me smile:  "He...smelled like a cologne that was advertised in a scented strip inserted in an issue of The New Yorker.  Virginia had called the magazine to complain."

 

The other characters in the Circle don't appeal to me much.  The bedroom scene between Bernard and Aimee was icky and added little to my perception of their relationship.  Neither Chris nor Adam appeal to me at all, except that Chris does seem to be a good father. 

 

I am a high school teacher and took to Paul.  I really want to see things work out for him.  He does give possibly the most sympathetic view of Gillian--as a stepmother she is sometimes kind of mean, sometimes nice, but mostly just ignores him.  She does seem to notice what is going on with him, more than I would expect her to.

 

Which chapter is most surprising?  Well, the Gillian/Adam fling was surprising.  I can't see why Gillian would desire him, even for a moment.  Even after his rescuing her from a dead rodent.  I was surprised to see Chris carted off to jail.  That gives me a bit more sympathy for him, but also makes me wonder if there is something more behind it.

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Sunltcloud
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

I find it amusing and interesting, at times, that some of us are looking for validation of the characters by comparing ourselves to them. I immediately "bonded" with Virginia even though I never mastered to stay married to the same man for more than ten years and I never failed a driving test. But I do have a rather close brother/sister relationship with my first husband who divorced me more than 40 years ago and I know this feeling of a relationship "undamaged by frustration." His company is highly stimulating as far as mental prowess is concerned, but I seldom become involved in his cluttered homelife and when I do, I can walk away without feeling frustrated; I can return to the calm atmosphere of my own world of thought.

 

I also have a liking for Virginia (and this might change later when I read more about her) for reconnecting with her childhood sweetheart after 50 years. I wanted to do this once, after about 45 years, but chickened out the last minute. I think that, maybe, looking at the most wonderful photograph of our only dance together will be safer in the long run. I sometimes show this picture to someone and have caught myself remarking that it was the happiest moment of my life. But it was the kind of happiness that comes from innocense, naivité, and puppylove.

 

So, Virginia, I hope you keep up the good work. Don't let this reminiscing old fool down.  (But did it have to be a mattress salesman? I wonder what that means?)

 

As for Paul. I know exactly why I dismissed him as character, though I feel for him. I didn't want to feel obligated to witness his pain. I have had my share of teenage search for meaning within myself as well as within those around me, and I want to stay away from it right now. Wow, I guess I chickened out on this one too? Sorry Paul; I will try hard to be fairer in my approach to your character.

 

Thank you Goodword. You have effectively kept me from doing dishes and sweeping the kitchen floor for a while. :smileyvery-happy:  I do this quite often; I get on this board and sort out my feelings based on the posts I read. Those of you who have a real job (I have the luxury of being retired) might want to stay clear of my musings. They get rather lengthy at times. Maybe I should add a warning in the subject line.

 

 

Goodword wrote in part:

 

For a short time, I was unsure about this novel.  I wasn't taking to many characters; in fact, I was disliking most of them.  I like Nancy well enough--I feel frustration at her timidity, because I recognize that quality in myself.  I like Virginia.  She is real, strong, mature.  I was surprised at how old she must be.  Her relationship with her ex-husband is unusual.  I liked the line that describes her current feelings for Bernard, "...the love she felt for Bernard was undamaged by frustration."  Virginia's description of Chris made me smile:  "He...smelled like a cologne that was advertised in a scented strip inserted in an issue of The New Yorker.  Virginia had called the magazine to complain."

 

I am a high school teacher and took to Paul.  I really want to see things work out for him.  He does give possibly the most sympathetic view of Gillian--as a stepmother she is sometimes kind of mean, sometimes nice, but mostly just ignores him.  She does seem to notice what is going on with him, more than I would expect her to.

 

 

 

 

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violetangel
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

[ Edited ]

Gah!  I went rounds about symbolism with my playwriting instructor!  

 

Why does everything have to mean something???  Sometimes a mattress salesman is just a mattress salesman (or in my case a cell phone on a table is just a cell phone on a table)!!!

 

Sometimes I think people (occasionally myself included, but less so after being accused of symbolism where there was none), particularly in book discussion groups tend to ascribe meaning to every little thing when in reality sometimes things just are what they are.  :smileyhappy:

 

(Not fussing at you in particular SunItCloud!  :smileyhappy:  Your mattress salesman thing just happened to be the most recent.  No offense meant!)

‎"No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anyone but oneself." -Virginia Woolf
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

So far my favorite characters...

 

Paul:  I think we will be reading a lot more about Paul.  I feel so sorry for him.  He seems like such a lost soul.  Going through the teenage years is hard enough.  His father seems to be only a custodial parent, his mother lives in another state and then there's Gillian.  She doesn't really care about him except when she confides in him about things from her past, which I find very strange, but he seems to be okay with that.  I guess some bonding is better than nothing at all.  Actually, Gillian almost comes across as a caring person when she is in this mode.  Paul is trying so hard to win friends but he seems to be lacking the social graces.  What happened to the nurturing and guidance he was supposed to receive from his parents?

 

Oates:  Oates is so relaxed.  He goes about his life, taking everything in stride.  He's so matter of fact.  He has so much patience with Nancy and all of her little insecurities.  For some one who does so much traveling, he comes back pretty relaxed.  I like him and hope he surfaces more.  What is his occupation?  I don't remember reading it.

 

Virginia:  She is just so nurturing.  She and Joe (in spite of all his insecurities) seem okay together because she is so nurturing.  I think Joe would drive me crazy, though, too clingy.  I don't know why she still banters so much with Bernard, they act as if they are still married.  At some point, I wish Virginia would just wash her hands of him.

 

And my less favorite characters...

Bernard:  I wish he would grow up already.  He lives on "Bernard" time.  Say and do whatever, whenever you feel like.  I wonder when he first hooked up with Aimee.  Was she from his married days to Virginia?

 

Aimee:  I guess Bernard is her sugar daddy.  Why else would she hook up with him.  She is jealous of his liaison with The Writing Circle, will do anything to sabotage or delay his going there.  She doesn't seem to have much substance.  Maybe she will get fed up with Bernard the same way Virginia did and grow up!

 

Chris:  I think Chris has potential.  He seems like a good father but I think he is too much into himself.

 

Adam:  I think he's a lost soul.

 

Just a note...As I was sitting in the dentist's chair this morning, I came up with two actresses for staging Gillian's part.  My choice will depend on how she develops. 

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nymazz
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris' first chapter)

Rachel-K wrote:

 

What effect does switching the perspective from chapter to chapter have on your reading? Which characters did you want to stay with longer? 
Is Nancy the "main" character for you? If you feel she is, what do we gain or lose by not sticking only with her perspective to this point in the novel?
Which characters do you take to immediately? Do you dislike anyone immediately?
Whose chapter is most surprising? How would you describe the home lives of each of our characters?

 

 

 

What effect does switching the perspective from chapter to chapter have on your reading? Which characters did you want to stay with longer? 

 

I am enjoying the change of perspective with each Chapter. For one thing, it keeps the characters fresh in my mind, its

like a timeline of each characters inter-actions until the next Leopardi meeting.


Is Nancy the "main" character for you? If you feel she is, what do we gain or lose by not sticking only with her perspective to this point in the novel?

I don't know if I consider her the main character (yet) but I think she is the main focus right now,her introduction into the group being central, where this goes, time will tell.


Which characters do you take to immediately? Do you dislike anyone immediately?

I don't dislike anyone yet, but Gillian could be a possibility, I'm curious to see how she develops over the next few chapters and what goes on with her and Adam.


How would you describe the home lives of each of our characters?

Nancy and Virginia seemed to have good relationships, even Bernard seems to be relatively happy. 

Gillians relationship with Jerry is questionable, she has no problem going to the vacation home alone and doesn't even want him to call to see if she arrived OK.  Seems very cold hearted or self-centered.

Chris' story so far is sad, his ex-wife is using his children to hurt him, unfortunately that is reality in many broken homes today.

Adam and Kim - I hope she sees the kind of person he really is and moves on.

 

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

I would say the chapter with Gillian and Adam, but not for the obvious reason.  I don't find it odd that Gillian cheated on Jerry, I think the love is very one sided in that relationship and Jerry will eventually be left behind.  I find it odd that she was with Paul  because he's a member of their elite group and I wouldn't think she would mix the two.

 

 

 

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. -Mason Cooley-
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Sanderson1216
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

What effect does switching the perspective from chapter to chapter have on your reading? Which characters did you want to stay with longer?

 

I enjoy switching character perspectives and feel this format allows the reader to get to know each character much better than staying from a perspective of one main character.

 

Is Nancy the "main" character for you? If you feel she is, what do we gain or lose by not sticking only with her perspective to this point in the novel?

 

At this point, I would say that Nancy isn't a main character for me. Early in the story, I would have said "yes", but after reading chapters from the others perspective, I haven't found one character that jumps out as a main one to me.

 

Which characters do you take to immediately? Do you dislike anyone immediately?

 

I'm caught up in the story of Virginia, Bernard, and their children and spouses. I like reading the family dynamics and I am curious how this family with either come together and continue to have issues. From the very beginning, Gillian's character has been my least favorite, but yet, I'm also interested in what will occur with her.

 

How would you describe the home lives of each of our characters?

 

It seems like each character experiences dysfunction in their home lives that parallels the dysfunction within the writing circle.

 

Whose chapter is most surprising for you?

I've been the most surprised by Adam and Gillian.  Gillian seems so detached from everyone in her life.  In some ways, she feels more strongly about her cottage in the woods then people in her life.  Perhaps her detachment from people made me more surprised by her involvement with Adam.

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Sunltcloud
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

No offense taken, violetangel.

 

The reason the mattress salesman came to mind was the fact that Virginia is a writer. I don't know if she has always been a writer or if she started at a later age. I wonder how she feels about her second husband's former job. Many times people who have retired see themselves within the confines of a prior vocation. I have a friend in one of my book groups who approaches everything from the standpoint of a head hunter. "This guy wouldn't act the way he does in real life," or "I can see that she is lying," because he thinks he has the gift of interviewing smartly and he transfers this gift to the book discussions.

 

Some, and I am one of them, see retirement as a new part of life. I very seldom think of the jobs I've had in life, other than to report about their effects on me, in a memoir piece. I see myself as creative, active, and curious person and a person who does not rest on old laurels.

 

As for the symbolism, I wholeheartedly agree with you, there is often no symbolism where we readers try to put it. I think about Khaled Hosseini, who once participated in a B&N group, or about Amy Tan, whom I saw at a Book Expo; both were surprised at the amount of symbolism others saw in their novels. But I also know that names can contribute to the success of novels, that some authors think about names in detail before they use them. And I figure: what goes for names might apply to jobs.

 

I would be careful about calling somebody a Silicon Valley tech guru, just as I would be careful in selecting barista or science professor or landscape designer or bug killer unless I knew things or did research  on these jobs. Will the job follow a pattern of engagement that is suitable for the character? A barista could be a tea lover but a butcher most likely would not be a vegetarian (unless he overdosed on steak) 

 

I think the author covered the spectrum of possibilities by having Joe study history (this works well with Virginia's field of expertise) and by letting him take over the family business. This not only shows loyalty; it also shows versatility. So it isn't so much the symbolism as the fit of the puzzle piece that I was looking at. Whether bedding itself or bedding V. becomes an issue, plays a part, remains to be seen.

 

Finally it could have been a coin toss. Mattress salesman vs. public phone booth inspector. Except that he might have lost his job a few years ago when the phone booth was defeated by the cell phone, which, in turn, could have left him with a scar as yet to be explored.

 

Somebody once made a point that I never forgot: We, as the readers, don't have to know  all of the details about a character, but the author needs to know.

 

If the author has a clear picture of the kind of person the character was before he/she came into the novel, the novel will be clearer for it. And though there are many similarities between all of us, a history student turned history professor might display signs of sedateness while the history student who became a mattress salesman might have had to deal more with the public, might have had to show more flexibility. If this history student had been a peace corps volunteer, had become an anthropologist, founded a not for profit organization, traveled the world, he might now get all excited about starting something that ends in .org and he might outshine Virginia. Just a thought.

 

violetangel wrote:

Gah!  I went rounds about symbolism with my playwriting instructor!  

 

Why does everything have to mean something???  Sometimes a mattress salesman is just a mattress salesman (or in my case a cell phone on a table is just a cell phone on a table)!!!

 

Sometimes I think people (occasionally myself included, but less so after being accused of symbolism where there was none), particularly in book discussion groups tend to ascribe meaning to every little thing when in reality sometimes things just are what they are.  :smileyhappy:

 

(Not fussing at you in particular SunItCloud!  :smileyhappy:  Your mattress salesman thing just happened to be the most recent.  No offense meant!)

 

 

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DiniB
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

violetangel wrote:

Gah!  I went rounds about symbolism with my playwriting instructor!  

 

Why does everything have to mean something???  Sometimes a mattress salesman is just a mattress salesman (or in my case a cell phone on a table is just a cell phone on a table)!!!

 

I used to feel this way.  However, I feel authors make very deliberate choices.  Virginia used to be married to a self-absorbed biographer.  Now her husband is a mattress salesman who has a degree in history.  Nice juxtaposition to Bernard.

 

So, cell phone on a table.  Without context, I can think of a couple of scenarios.  Isolation...abandonment...foreshadowing of bad things to come because the lines of communication have been disconnected and left behind?  If it has no meaning, then why add the detail? 

 

I studied art history.  A still life of fruit or a flower arrangement is not really a picture of fruit or flowers.  It is a reminder of mortality, death and decay. 

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LarryOnLI
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

[ Edited ]

Mattress  salesman?

 

I thought he owned the company. Would you compare the CEO of Sealy or Tempurpedic to the guy on the sales floor hawking the mattress?

 

Just a paragraph from the Sealy investor website:

 


Sealy is the largest bedding manufacturer in the world with sales of $1.3 billion in fiscal 2009. We manufacture and market a broad range of mattresses and foundations under the Sealy®, Sealy Posturepedic®, Stearns & Foster® and Bassett® brands. We have the largest market share and highest consumer awareness of any bedding brand in North America.

Sealy sells its products through more than 7,000 retail outlets, which include furniture stores, national mass merchandisers, specialty sleep shops, department stores and warehouse clubs.

 

How do we know Virginia's husband isn't a retired captain of industry?

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Sunltcloud
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

DiniB, I agree with you. And I immediately thought of a few symbolic things about the cell phone too.  But foremost I thought about my own experience. Once I went to an open air concert where I laid down my celll phone on the table in front of me. Suddenly the loudspeakers were activated and pre-concert music was piped in. What did they play as first number? Bob Marley's "Buffalo Soldier." I jumped up (must have embarrassed my daughter) and looked around in confusion. Then, against my better judgement, I picked up my cell phone and stared at it. "Buffalo Soldier" is my ringtone," I tried to explain. What I couldn't explain was my irratic behaviour and that my mind had immediately connected the song to the ringtone.

 

You see abandonment, disconnection, lack of communication in the cell phone. Somebody else might look at it from the opposite side, as the bearer of good news. I can see a text message displayed. Happy message? Sad message?

 

I think for an author the question always becomes, what to put in and what to leave out. Some phrases just fill the page. Others have meaning. If too much symbolism is thrown at the reader the novel becomes an obstacle course; if not enough meat is attached to ordinary things, the novel becomes a bore. If the cell phone does not make the action move forward, why is it there? But sometimes action needs to be slowed down so the reader can digest what was read and maybe in that case a character might be allowed to lay the cell phone on the table without attached meaning.

 

(I can see that Violetangel is shaking her head...... as she is picking up her cell phone.)

 

 

DiniB wrote:

violetangel wrote:

Gah!  I went rounds about symbolism with my playwriting instructor!  

 

Why does everything have to mean something???  Sometimes a mattress salesman is just a mattress salesman (or in my case a cell phone on a table is just a cell phone on a table)!!!

 

I used to feel this way.  However, I feel authors make very deliberate choices.  Virginia used to be married to a self-absorbed biographer.  Now her husband is a mattress salesman who has a degree in history.  Nice juxtaposition to Bernard.

 

So, cell phone on a table.  Without context, I can think of a couple of scenarios.  Isolation...abandonment...foreshadowing of bad things to come because the lines of communication have been disconnected and left behind?  If it has no meaning, then why add the detail? 

 

I studied art history.  A still life of fruit or a flower arrangement is not really a picture of fruit or flowers.  It is a reminder of mortality, death and decay. 

 

 

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StewiesMom
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎10-09-2008
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Re: The Writing Circle: Early Chapters (through Chris's first chapter)

DSaff wrote:

Normally I don't have trouble switching perspectives, but that is because I can easily look back. Reading on the Nook makes that a lot more difficult, so I will be resorting more to handwritten notes for the next section. I would love to spend more time with Nancy in hopes of reading more of the story I think she is writing at the beginning.

 

Yes, I think Nancy is the main character of the book. It would be easier to see what she thinks of the others and the situations that come up if it were written from her point of view, but the story seems to be working as written. I like hearing how each character feels, what they think, about the events happening around them. I equate it with the movie, "Vantage Point."

 

The character I dislike the most right now is Gillian. She seems to be very high-brow and seems to look down on others. But, I will be interested to see what I think of her as I continue to read. Many times the ones we love to hate become more endearing as the story continues. However, we will see.  <grin>

 

 

 

Hi Donna,

 

I would like to disagree with your statement on Gillian.  I don't feel that she actually looks down on anyone.  She isn't aware of anyone else.   In order to look down on someone, she would have to be aware of them.  Don't get me wrong, I do not LIKE Gillian, instead I feel that she is so self absorbed that it doesn't even really enter her conscious that other people have feeling, worries, likes and/or dislikes.  Yes, I'm aware that she is in a writing circle with other people, but I don't think she connects with any of them.  The first scene where I began to develop this theory was when the reference to Nancy having met her twice before without realizing they had met the first time.  If I interpreted that passage correctly, Gillian didn't realize they had met the first time because she was unaware of Nancy being there.  

 

Maybe I am reading more into this, but I just wanted to share my opinion on this character. :smileyhappy:

"Tact, my dear"..."is merely a ploy of the unimaginative." - Bernard in Corinne Demas' "The Writing Circle"
"My life is my own, and the opinions of others don't interest me..." — Carroll John Daly**
**This is not necessarily true, I just love the quote!**