I just finished reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for a class, and it inspired me in all kinds of ways. Not only to the plight of outcasts (significant character development for my WIP protagonist, I’m hoping) but also in looking at the overall structure of the novel itself (more on this below).
Let’s hit on outcasts first. I’m sure we’ve all, at some point in our lives, felt like one. Hurt and rejected feelings can cut deeply–even Frankenstein’s monster knew the genuine affection the DeLaceys had for one another would never be for him.
But sometimes in a group of people where I feel like a square peg, I’m secretly kind of glad. It just means that we’re not necessarily kindred spirits. And that’s a good thing, because then I can gravitate toward people who are. At times like these, being an outcast can be empowering. I hope to build this into my protagonist’s journey.
The WIP novel overall is a Frankenstein monster in and of itself. Currently, Chapter 10 is a shambles because I had to reorder and delete some events for the sake of story. Significant sections will also have to be rewritten to accommodate changes I’ve made to the beginning.
But unlike Frankenstein’s monster, it won’t be that way permanently–and just like “outcast” status, it’s a matter of perspective. Sure, I’m splicing together some incongruent parts, but the lifeblood of the novel will piece them together eventually.
So instead of treating my novel like a misfit island toy, I’m embracing its ugliness–in the hopes of making it prettier later on. Sometimes, you have to see the beauty in the ugly before you can see the monster’s true nature. Love the novel in spite of its flaws. That will free it. That’s the lifebood. That’s the story. That’s what we’re all striving toward.
As the wonderful, late Maya Angelou says, “Love liberates.” And there’s always a place you can call home.