The novel is coming on slowly but surely.
But there is a problem.
At the moment my main antagonists could come across as stereotypes. The trouble is that I’ve specifically written them as caricatures (in the tradition of Dickens (and the trouble is that Dickens is accused of writing stereotypes).
But my trouble is that I know I can do this well. I’ve discovered from some of my short stories that I have the power to create characters which can make people angry. I’m good at that. It is a strength. And my novel’s antagonists are enough to make anyone angry. But I’m losing the plot because I need to evoke other more positive emotions. More to the point, I aim to put beauty into the novel and at the moment these characters are just so ugly.
In 1984 Orwell writes in a way which causes anger in the reader. At least it is an emotion. But I need to break through into something more and grow as a writer. If I can only evoke anger and can’t encourage more positive emotions, what is the point?
I’ve come up with the genre it is at least: it’s a neo-gothic supernatural love story.
I’m drawing on some of the more romantic writers and a lot of the literary ghost story tradition. This means influences from Poe and M.R. James and a number of others. I’m blocking out Plath and Orwell.
It is also a very modern British story with the influence of the digital revolution contained within it. It also draws on my spiritual roots. I’m not necessarily aiming for gritty realism, or magic realism even. What I’m aiming at is a writing for the soul.
So unless I break through and make my protagonists more memorable than the antagonists then I’m in trouble should it ever be published.
The story draws on angels, ghosts, miracles, dreams and a love like an intense fire. If the caricature antagonists are seen as stereotypes then so be it!
I have to write it.