Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Helen Update

Sixty Five days until she's published and we're still editing.  I admit, it is hard to go through the thing again and again, mostly because it is rather like weaving a tapestry.  If you weave the whole thing and then go back to pull out the wrongly done thread, you can do damage to the whole thing, you will have to rework everything that follows to make it correct.  I have a crossroads about a moment in the book.

Without telling, I have to decide if Helen is the orchestrator or the victim of a circumstance.  The difference is critical.  I wrote it with her as victim. I know, it needs to be the other way.  I am not sure how to pull it off.  It would require actually reworking the chapter prior in order to fully give credence to her decision.   I know it is the right thing to do, I'm just mentally dreading doing it.

Like getting a new haircut, I don't know how it will look when I finish.  I have to hope and trust the stylist.  Except in this case, the beautician is me.   Ugh.  

I am currently outlining the Book of Penelope and part of her personality is starting to emerge.  I want to tell their courtship, their dealing with Odysseus leaving, the 20 years of single motherhood and solitary rule, restarting at 45 as both old married and newly wed, and the issue of infidelity which is glossed over in the Odyssey, as he comes in and slaughters all the suitors, but he's been unfaithful with Circe, with Calypso and has at least been voyeuristic with the Princess Nausicaa.  Those are known infidelities. They're part of the story of his journey home.  They had to have some ramifications on Queen Penelope's heart even upon being joyful at his return and the elimination of all the predatory men vying for her hand and his throne.

One of the issues I want to address is the having to regrow the intimacy between the two of them.  I also want to address the adult Telemachus, who has not had a father, has lived with the memory of him as a guide, and now a hero of him that is larger than life, and who has no real connection with either.  

The other big issue is time. When do I set this story? Do I do it as a diary allowing Penelope to reveal what is happening as it is happening? That doesn't work because writing was still an emerging skill at the time, used mostly to create inventories and ship manifests, part of why Pythia became critical in Helen.  If it is not set to unfold in real time, how do I tell the past stories presently?  It will have to be all from Penelope's point of view, reflecting backwards as she moves forward, but where is the beginning point?  When Odysseus returns? When he leaves?  Twenty years after when my Helen story takes place?  That's the other big question to ask and answer.  

I have to go take a kid to get braces, so the retelling of the Greek stories via the women's POV will have to wait until the Orthodontist appointment is over.

P.S. Helen would have me mention that she is annoyed I would discuss anything other than her on the Wednesday Book of Helen Update.    


ama said...

In my own writing classes and succinctly put by Stephen King sometimes you have to "kill your darlings" to make your writing work. While this usually applies to sentences/words it can also work with a POV or event. Be strong! Remember that you are writing this to share with other people; not just for yourself.

Karen said...

Perhaps Helen is neither victim nor perpetrator, but rather a wise woman who chose passion over the limits of a stifling and confining marriage.

Sherry Antonetti said...

You are thinking of a specific scenario already known to those familiar with the Helen myth, this particular problem in the book is in the context of her current age (65).

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