Discover the Sky

I had a few different objectives in writing this piece as far as incorporating the techniques and authors we've looked at in class goes. First of all, I was concerned with the development of a coherent narrative voice, and also with experimenting with adopting subtly different voices like Tom Wolfe often does. Throughout most of the piece, I tried to stick with a consistent voice of my own, but in some of the historical exposition sections and parts describing the town itself, I attempted to shift the narrative voice to reflect the content about which I wrote.

As for the more general structure of the piece, I sought to integrate narrative with the exploration of a philosophical theme somewhat like Annie Dillard does in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (my actual subject matter is also similar to hers), and again like Dillard, I tried work in some Ruskinian word-painting in the descriptions of natural settings. Additionally, I found myself tending to structure my piece in a way that wasn't entirely linear; like Dillard, Joan Didion and Sara Suleri, I often returned to motifs mentioned earlier and found it effective to repeat lines I had used earlier in the piece in different contexts. In creating the relationship between furthering the story and offering historical and scientific description, I kept in mind our class discussions about the ways in which all of the authors we read, but particularly Wolfe and John McPhee, managed to balance the narrative and expository aspects of their own work.

On a more specific level, I tried to put into practice some of the various structural techniques that we've discussed throughout the semester. For the most part, I focused on varying my sentence structure and pacing within passages, and I tried to maintain interesting and engaging rhythms throughout. Additionally, like several of the authors we've read, I used the technique of extensive and detailed lists, particularly in describing the different aspects of the settings in the piece. I also employed a few very specific techniques that we've observed over and over throughout the course; for example, I found that it often furthered the rhythm of a sentence to end the lists mentioned above with comparatively long clauses. Finally, I tried very hard not use the passive voice or the verb "to be" unless I had a good reason to!

Victorian Web Overview Victorian courses

21 December 2007