That Dark Remembered Day - a novel, and critical self-reflection on composition and the editorial process
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My aim for That Dark Remembered Day was to create a work of fiction with a strong sense of the literary, one whose themes of violence, landscape and survivor guilt shone a light on the human condition, specifically the effects of post-war trauma on one family. The novel’s structure would be crucial in achieving its emotional heft, as each of the central characters is allocated at least one section, the reader experiencing events from disparate and increasingly illuminating perspectives. Fragmenting the book’s chronology (both throughout, but particularly in Part 3) by employing a technique of temporal blurring, helped to recreate a sense of disorientation in the reader, a key symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. And despite an at times lyrical style, readability was important to me, in that I wanted the novel to retain its pace as a psychological thriller, albeit one where the reader is told what happens at the outset, the remainder of the book tasked with explaining how and why. Crucial to this thesis is the relationship I developed with my appointed editor, specifically how conflict emerged and was for the most part resolved during revision of the work. Significantly, I argue that these negotiations, together with my exploration of the author/editor relationship, contributed to my development as an author, and to the realisation of the novel. Research was conducted into the Falklands conflict by studying first-hand accounts of those who served, allowing me to blur fact with fiction, a process that delivered its own ethical challenges.
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