A little unrelated yet again to what I normally post, but this has been eating away at me for a long time; so much so, that I decided to base my dissertation on it.
So, here is an excerpt from my dissertation, which basically explores why I chose to even choose the subject matter to write about.
And it’s all because of one question…
Critical Chapter I:
The Dissertation’s Objective
Writers will always hear a rather age-old question when they reveal their profession or passion to the general populous. It is that question, and my answer to it, that originally spurred me to even consider the subject for my postgraduate dissertation.
‘What do you write?’
On the surface, that question alone seems simple enough. We will not be able to get very far if we cannot answer with what we write, but more often than not, there are multiple answers to that question. Some of mine include a great variety of forms and genres; courtesy of my experimentation to improve the craft during my undergraduate degree. Fiction. Poetry. Stage plays. And when one breaks it down further, I start thinking of specific genres and the like. Realism. Fantasy. Thriller. Crime. The list could be endless if I was to gather every genre I have ever dabbled in, every piece of writing I have ever scribbled on scraps of paper, and every project I have started but never finished.
So, I started to consider that question very carefully. It not only referred to what I wrote specifically, but what I wanted myself to mean as an author. What did I want to be remembered as if people read my work? Did I want them to think that I was flippant and dabbling in various types of writing because I could not decide? Or did I want them to think that I stood for something, and that message was present across everything I wrote to connect them all together?
Upon deciding that it was the latter question that I wanted as my affirmative answer, I started to look back through notable pieces that I have written. Even in different forms and genres, a common message and ideology started to bleed through. Most of my work was written to appeal to a young adult audience, and most of it related to difficult situations in which the character(s) would have to make a choice. Even pieces not written for the young adult genre were affected by this aspect of choice, and the huge importance laid resting on it.
Subconsciously, I was writing to try and make the reader consider the implications of each choice. They were never as clean-cut as one choice being good, and the other choice being bad. Both choices were difficult in some way, or influenced by emotions attached to these options presented to the protagonist. I realised that, in perhaps one of the simplest ways, I was encouraging the concept of free will and decision making from my own experiences growing up. Books that shaped my childhood, and even adulthood, were often filled with these almost agonising choices that had to be made. All the protagonist could hope was that they were doing the right thing for themselves, or a collective populous; dependent on the gravity of the choice being made.
I always come back to this concept of choice.