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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest Post from A Diary's House author C David Murphy

‘A Diary’s House’ as it relates to Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) Huck Finn

Some of the initial reviews for ‘A Diary’s House’ have indicated aspects of writing style, story structure and character development similar to Samuel Clemens. I suspect this has as much to do with the story backdrop, the venture of three friends in a galactic attempt to become men, fighting the heralds of a dangerous and mighty river, and then coming out on the other side being well-respected for doing so.

I won’t divorce myself from the similarities of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and of course, my main character Landon Hampshire while entailing the various adventures of all three. But the birth of such a novel as ‘A Diary’s House’ has much more to do with the ‘concept’ and ‘primary’ reason for its existence than the material or immaterial similarities that it may, in the end, present to the general readership.

If this were the case, the attempt to bring a favorable tale to light much as with Mark Twain during his day might have led to a very quick turnaround from initial inception, first rough draft, re-composition, edits, re-do’s, alterations in structure and character development, to the final product. Such a lengthy novel might take 1-2 years to perform. And in truth, the novel took as much time as this. But ‘A Diary’s House’, in its current form and only slightly altered with additional chapters and deeper supporting cast developments, is pretty much the same novel from a decade ago. There is one slight exception – the prologue and first chapter have had multiple re-writes.

Perhaps the greatest similarities come with the banter in the style’s uniqueness; unlike anything the reader has read. This is where we can draw the distinction and similarities in one breath – simply put, the narrative has such a distinctive ‘voice’ all it’s own. A normal, more standard narrative might cause the story to fall by the wayside and lose its dimension, its unique point of view, and thus the message is lost.

I deliberated over the style in narrative for a few months before I began even writing the story; pose different styles in a limited two page start, review, another two page start, review, and so on. I did this seven times before I finally settled on a ‘Victorian style’ (which suits Samuel Clemens era and personification). After all, the story holds its backdrop within that time frame.

Now I had the arduous task to make the story enjoyable enough for the current day readership - to relish in the descriptive, elongated style most attributable to the Victorian times and still have the merit to hold the current day reader’s attention span. This bridge-gap was perhaps the hardest to overcome.

Remember, the ‘primary’ reason was for it to be read aloud to my children, in storybook format, during their early years. This requires an altered state in the narrative; a more flowing, ‘flowery’ settlement and metaphorical use – which would appeal to a child’s burgeoning imagination.

Samuel Clemens, in similar aspect, wrote with a likewise, though variable impression. I certainly am honored by the comparisons, and I am sure ‘A Diary’s House’ will be compared to other works/writers as the novel gets more exposure.

C. David Murphy
Author of A Diary’s House

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