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Reading for Writing – Chéri and The Last of Chéri by Colette

March 24, 2022
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Progress? Done, finally.

Thoughts on Writing:

  • The last time I wrote about this book, I mentioned that I was having a hard time following which character was speaking and I couldn’t figure out why. Well, it took me until toward the end to realize that Colette wrote both of these books using a third person omniscient narrator. Some advantages of using this point of view are that it allows the author to move between the perspectives of different characters easily, it creates a reliable narrator (they know everything), and it can allow an author to portray the tone/setting of the novel more easily because it doesn’t get modified through the eyes of a character. What had been confusing me in these books is that interspersed within the story are pieces of the inner thoughts of the characters in the first person. These are identified using apostrophes and it was hard for me to both switch POVs and figure out which character was doing the thinking at the same time. I don’t read a lot of books with third person omniscient narrators, so I’m not used to these types of tricks that allow the reader to hear the inner monologue of a character.
  • One thing that provides a reader with a sense of progress in a book is rising action. It doesn’t have to be action per se, but it needs to be some kind of progress toward resolving promises the book makes at the beginning. Because these books don’t have any action, I had a hard time figuring out what promises were actually made about the development of the characters. I think this contributed a lot to my reluctance/aversion to continuing my reading and why it took me so long to finish.

Other Thoughts and Questions:

  • Ugh. These books were a slog for me. It was literally 247 pages of dialogue and inner thoughts. I desperately need more action.
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