My PhD novel is now likely to be a Hybrid.
According to Wikipaedia a hybrid in literature can be:
- Hybrid (DC Comics), a fictional group of supervillains
- Hybrid (Marvel Comics), a fictional supervillain
- Hybrid (Scott Washington), a fictional Marvel Comics anti-hero
- Hybrids (novel), a book in the Neanderthal Parallax trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer
My novel will be none of these. It is likely to be a novel with a format of part conventional prose and part made up of Facebook status updates. I originally wanted it to be entirely composed of status updates with their confused and fragmented communication style reflecting the content: the story of someone with early onset dementia. One of my supervisors is enthusiastic about this, the other has advised me to write the majority of the story in conventional prose. The cautionary approach of the latter supervisor has to do with the nature of a PhD in Creative Writing which apparently is different to writing an actual book. The novel which gets you a PhD is not likely to be a novel which anyone would want to publish. Hmm. This makes me wonder why I am doing a PhD at all. I embarked on my Masters in Creative writing believing that I would complete a novel by the end of the year. I didn’t. I submitted the synopsis of a novel I had been working on as a possible major project and had it torn to shreds. I then submitted the idea for a novel written in Facebook status updates and also a novel of a treasure hunt in the Scottish Borders. Both these ideas were greeted with enthusiasm and I went for the safer option of the treasure hunt in case the experimental one didn’t work. I completed the 20.000 words required for the assessment and then…I lost confidence in the idea. Onwards to a PhD. My proposal clearly stated the form I wanted to use for my novel: Facebook status updates. My first supervisor was openly dismissive of the idea that Facebook could make a meaningful narrative. So when that supervisor left, I was eager to see what my new supervisor would think of the idea. I knew I was struggling with using Facebook to write the second draft of the novel so I was looking forward to getting some advice about how to improve it. But the second supervisor felt that I didn’t have time to write the Facebook version.
So, a hybrid it will be.
And after I get my PhD I will embark on the vehicle (see, hybrid, vehicle?!) the story is meant to be. It will be an e-book/app in the form of Facebook, with characters as profiles and links to information as well as parts of the story. It will be fun, poignant and educational. It will have photos and adverts. It will be ace.