So the week slips ever faster past me. I don't like this, I only have two days left! I have decided now is the time to begin Operation Employability. It's a subtle(ish) plan that I've been cultivating over the past week and a half, but now we're going up a notch. I was praised yesterday by Sarah because she could barely keep up with my reading; she actually had to dig out a manuscript from somewhere in order for me to have some work to do, which was nice. Unfortunately, it wasn't a great manuscript. Which, in a way, is actually really fun for me. I think it's the side of me that really enjoys following learner drivers or likes watching people give terrible slide-show presentations. There's something very interesting about seeing how NOT to do something.
This particular manuscript got a full page and a half of criticism (the most constructive type, of course) and I hope the points I came up with are actually picked up by the writer. The writer, of course, won't see my report, but the helpful comments will be relayed back to the author in order for them to be able to improve their work. Of course, me being a lowly intern, I will in no way have the final say regarding this novel. I wouldn't even know if my comments will be relayed to them but I am aware that the issues I had with the story will probably be picked up on by another reader. I hope so, the writer obviously had potential and the narrative showed promise, plus the author was about my age so I felt like I wanted to help, but there were confusing aspects and a particularly un-compelling protagonist.
I find this really rather interesting. Writers always want to be kind to their characters, to make sure they don't go through something too awful or horrific. But if you think about it, would you want to read about a nice chap who goes about his nice life with his friendly neighbours and didn't really think too much about the world? I recently read The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Through the Window and Disappeared. Here's a lovely protagonist who has no political persuasions, he actively shuns politics, but the situations he ends up in are interesting, amusing and politically charged. It's his reactions to these situations, his apolitical attitude, that makes him compelling in that context. And that's the word; compelling. Think of any character you have felt strongly about in any novel. Not one that you have liked the most, but that has affected you the strongest or has left a mark on you. They aren't always the ones you like. Mr Bingley is lovely but if Darcy was also as nice the whole way through the book it would quickly get boring. If Frankenstein's monster were really rather friendly and aware of his actions then the story would be dull. Think of American Psycho; the protagonist in that story is particularly vile but the pages keep turning. Perfume – I was sickened reading that but my goodness, I enjoyed that book. In fact, one of my favourite things when I finish a book is being asked how it was and being unable to say 'I really enjoyed it' because I'm not sure if 'enjoy' is even the right word.
So hopefully this writer will take my (possibly questionable) advice and at least re-visit certain parts of her novel that I just didn't believe in or understand. A fascinating process anyway, I feel very lucky to be able to see so many manuscripts in so many stages of completion.
So, Operation Employability. This involves:
- Smiling at everyone I pass in the office, even if I'm greeted back with a confused expression of fear (Londoner's don't do smiling at strangers, physical proximity is no exception).
- Making tea for anyone and everyone. I'm sure I made one for the chap checking that the toilet roll was full.
- Reading things really quickly and giving concise, informative and constructive feedback to each and every manuscript. Even if I could have believed a five year-old had written in. In lipstick.
- Wearing nice shoes (can't hurt).
- Ignoring my phone even if I get a text from an attractive man.
- Hide my phone at an angle so I'm not obviously texting attractive man back.
- Subtly eating my Pom Bears from my handbag on the floor so that nobody suspects I'm a bit hungover even though I have to reach right down and then crunch as quietly as possible. Actually, not sure this one worked so well.
- Being in early (I KNOW) and staying late so that I look Very Important and Dedicated.
Any other suggestions will be gratefully received!
I have finally got a photo of the corridor photograph so you can enjoy that, along with this grovelling apology for missing last night's entry. I was taken to a pub, shown comedy and fed wine! But I thought of everyone sitting at home, sadly missing my words but making themselves feel better with their own wine. So I hope you enjoyed!
Until tomorrow, penultimate day. Sad, sad times.