Honest Self-Review: Part 1 – Self-Deprecation

Fancy a review copy of Adjective Narcissism? If so, just email me at jcdefixio@hotmail.co.uk!

Whilst I am finally getting around to this honest self-reviewal which I have been putting off, using such excuses as university coursework and alcohol to avoid beginning this fairly unpleasant, definitely discomfortable task, I feel as though a few more opinions on AN could be helpful, if only that I might work out what exactly I wanted to achieve, though I may well be stealing other bloggers’ thoughts and words to complete that task, anyone who desires to either review it themselves, or even just offer me some explanation as to what is going on inside my insanity, can email me and I’ll send out a review copy.

This is not a pleasant journey upon which I am currently engaged. I am forcing myself to stare into a mirror far too closely, if you will forgive the overused metaphor, and I am almost scared at what justification I might find there. But, anyway, this series of posts will allow me to force myself into that unpleasant position, and I cannot help but feel it may make me, even more than I believe I am, honest towards my prose.

I think, if I could go back and rewrite it, (which, thanks to the majesty of self-publishing, is completely possible, though I certainly feel guilty at considering it), I would have toned down the character’s self-deprecation. Whilst, at the time, caught in that particular brand of misery which appears after several hours staring at one sentence, hoping against logic, that it may yet fit into the paragraph, shortly after staring out of the window and realising it is almost dawn, the sheer amount of self-loathing felt right, since I have found it, perhaps a little overwhelming? But then, of course, I still believe that it suits the character’s blend of arrogance and insecurity, though it may make the overall reading experience less enjoyable.

Had I wanted the character to be one which the reader could sympathise with, then I imagine I would have adapted the entire form of the novella to one less ‘Joycean’, if I can consider AN to be worthy of such a term. Of course, that would have undone a great deal of what I believed I was doing as I wrote the thing.

Honesty here… I have suffered my way through English Literature and Creative Writing classes for three years. Even the act of taking said classes, (though I missed more of them than I might care to admit), instantly denies me a sense of legitimacy, a sense of innate talent which I may well have desired. I think that, ignoring my dislike for genre fiction, for the low-quality of much self-published work, I felt as though I had to prove myself, even if only to myself, that I could hold myself to a different standard.

That does, of course, not mean that I think I am better than anyone, perhaps the opposite is more honest. I had to show off some intelligence, some pretension, all the while calling myself and my character out on our self-gratifying idiocy, simply that I might be able to call myself a writer.

I still cannot call myself a writer.

Perhaps that is why I felt the need, also, to use such complex sentences, to throw myself at difficult issues with all the certainty of polemic, to pretend that I hold some mystic knowledge to which the rest of the human race finds itself denied, to focus on an absence of narrative, to ignore coherency in favour of direct interaction with the reader… or maybe the latter was simply to give me the illusion of companionship on those long nights when everyone else I know was long asleep.

Of course, we have the possibility of a simple lack of narrative talent, perhaps that I am incapable of creating ‘gripping’ fiction, which might draw in a wider readership and make me a relatively wealthy man, though at the cost of originality, but I think I’d like to ignore that, for a while at least.

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