I have received messages from former students regularly but yesterday I got two about the same topic: writing. I miss being a teacher. And my former students mean a lot to me, so I take it seriously when they reach out. They wouldn’t if they didn’t need me, and it means a lot that they thought of me as someone to reach out to. I am a firm believer that we don’t make it through anything on our own. It’s always hard to ask for help so who am I to deny it?
Both of them had questions about how to write. One wanted to know what was the point of writing if no one reads it, the other had style and structure questions. Both excellent questions, as well as the kinds of things you want people with a certain writerly disposition to be asking.
To the former, for which an answer would potentially be a much more nebulous proposition, I answered that the act of publishing itself IS the reward. You can say that you have done this thing. Slayed the dragon, and so on. Of course the hope is that you realize you have been neglecting a part of yourself for years and use that burst of galvanizing energy to continue writing. And maybe one day you get that rare combination of luck and skill and preparation, and you actually get paid.
The latter was as I said, easier to address: how do we indicate internal dialogue in narrative. That student said she had used italics, which is of course what I think most of us do. But it got me thinking. Are there other ways that would be just as effective?
I am writing a novel right now where I have three recurring figures, each of which I use specific text markers for whenever they speak. Internal monologue occurs in two ways in my book: the poetry that is a state of poetic communication between one character and the godhood present in the novel, and one that is an internal musing. They both are treated the same – by setting the text into the body with two tabs. Is it easy to ascertain which is happening at what point? Not necessarily, but that is what I am exploring with the relationship, since the internal communication going on is in fact an interplay between the two characters. One of them is a god aspect, after all – and who knows what all they get up to in their spare time?
So, am I worried about who will read what I write? Not particularly. I plan to self-publish with Amazon and “put myself out there.” It’s been a lifetime goal of mine to have my work published in physical form, and I intend to see it happen. Having said that, who knows if anyone will read it. Or having read it, think it’s worthwhile.
I left my crystal ball in the Bat Cave so I can’t answer that. But it’s a thing I must do, so I am doing it. I hope you feel the same way about whatever your “it” is…