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On the diary format

I'm grabbing question #3. I finished the book before the 1st so I'd be ready for this.

3. How do you feel about the diary set up? Is it too much? Does it work to convey certain messages or feelings from the narrator? Do you seriously think this girl could write that fast?

The diary format of the book bugged me because it was not in diary format. At least, not like any diary I've ever seen. It is very sophisticated and reads like a story. The only reminders that it is a diary are that she mentions taking a long time to write, needing more books, and a few times she alludes to events in the first lines of a chapter. Cassandra is very well-read in the classics, and I'm sure that is the greatest influence on her style. (After all, Rose tries to act like an Austen character because she thinks that's how a girl is supposed to act with young men.)

I think the diary element wasn't necessary. It seems that its purpose is to let Cassandra practice her writing. That purpose isn't convincing. A normal person would have their writing evolve and improve; in this case, the quality is consistent and the only development is among the character, not the writing itself. The diary needs to be a character in its own right.

If she really is speed writing, I suppose she could write that fast is that is all she does all day. I've forced out 7,000 words a day with Nanowrimo, but I type much, much faster than I write. It's also important to note that this book takes place from March to October. If she spends several weeks writing about the events of one day, it would work, considering their isolation and how the Cottons don't visit constantly.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 8th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
I don't buy it - the first chapter, she claimed she was sitting on the sink writing PAGES of her journal. Typing is one thing - writing is another... impossible to do that all as the events are happening.
Jul. 9th, 2008 04:07 am (UTC)
I agree that it was a bit of a stretch style-wise but I could forgive it.

On the other hand, I have no problem buying the amount she was writing. I could do that no problem in a journal. And at the time, there was no tv or computer as a distraction. I could definitely see her having enough time to get that amount of writing done, since it was clearly her main hobby.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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