Brown, Janice Margaret
Hartsend: a novel and reflections on its writing.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis consists of two parts: a creative work and a reflective essay.
The creative work is a novel entitled Hartsend. In a village in Central Scotland, the characters assemble at the funeral of Mrs Crossthwaite, a domineering woman whose middle aged daughter Lesley must now make her own choices. Four people in particular, teenagers Harriet and Ryan, and middle aged friends Duncan and Lesley attempt to cope with their private pain and the damage done to them in the past, in order to make sense of their lives. Is forgiveness necessary, or even possible? Meanwhile, out of everyone’s sight, another kind of damage is taking place which will affect the entire village.
The reflective essay examines first the origins of the novel, those external events which over a number of years preoccupied me and the personal circumstances which intensified my concern. It then considers the factors involved in its writing. These include: the difficulties involved in becoming a writer, the depiction of a paedophile, an exploration of the key concept of ‘Noticing’, the use of the Enneagram in developing characters, the Mindmap as a tool for plotting the novel, the usefulness of experts and the place and purpose of writing in an aleatory world.
Examples from several writers including Nadine Gordimer, Carol Shields, Raymond Chandler, Margaret Atwood and William Trevor, whose words have contributed to my ideas about writing and whose work has modified my writing style, substantiate this analysis.
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