Digging Deep: “Where are the paragraphs?!”

A few among the book reviewers who read Revived were a bit puzzled by a feature of the book: there are no chapters. That’s right: scenes are broken by a simple space. This may seem strange at first, and it is perhaps a little unusual, but it isn’t exactly new: at least one (very famous) author did this before in one of their books. Ursula Le Guin’s Lavinia  is the story of the titular Italic princess, and just like Revived, the book totally lacks any sort of traditional chapter division: scene after scene flow without any sort of break. While I would never dare compare myself to such a master of writing, I cannot deny that Lavinia was, in part, the inspiration for the (lack of) organization of Revived: Le Guin’s work made me realize that such a thing was possible.

The specific reason I chose not to break Revived into chapters is that I consider it a “slice of life” book. Revived is about a person and what they do in their ordinary, zombifying-parasite-infested life, “life” being the keyword here. Lives aren’t broken into chapters: they flow, they crash, they stall, but they’re never broken. The books skips parts of Violet’s life, of course, for the same reason every book does it: we readers want the meaty bits, not the characters’ bathroom routines. However, the parts that are shown flow uninterrupted, with just a space between them to tell the reader that something else happened in-between; it just wasn’t important.

Does this make sense to you? I hope so. It did make sense for me, though, so I wrote my book that way. The beauty of being an indie author is that you can do whatever you want. However, if you disagree with me or have anything else to say, just leave a comment or send me an email and we’ll talk 🙂

Digging Deep: Who is Violet Sharpe? Part 1: Her Name

If you went as far as reading the blurb, you will know that Violet Sharpe is the protagonist of Revived. But who is she, and how did she come to life – so to speak? In this series of posts, I’ll talk about the genesis of the character and what I like and dislike about her as a person (that’s right: there are things I dislike about the character I created. Those of you who have children may relate).

Note: In these posts I’ll try to avoid mentioning too many specific events from the book, but it’s almost unavoidable for them to contain spoilers. I’d recommend you don’t read them until after you’ve read the novel. On the other hand, if you’re just curios about the origins of a main character among many, please continue reading.

The name

I didn’t chose “Violet Sharpe” at random.

(this saves me from the idiot heap, I guess)

Allow me to confess one tiny little sin: I’ve watched Ultraviolet a dozen times. It’s one of my favorite movies, although I’ll freely admit it’s pretty terrible. But I love the aesthetics, and I love the main character. How can you not love someone who wins a fight against multiple opponents, each one as powerful as she is, because they’re “not as pissed of as” she is? Come on.

Right. Back on track. When I had to find a name for the protagonist, “Violet” was the first one that popped into my mind. Violets are ordinary, non-fancy flowers, and Vi is pretty much an ordinary, non-fancy woman. She has a complex personality, but if you tried to call her “special” or “unique” she would probably tell you off (with a lot more swearing than I just used). Unlike her unfaithful partner, Rose, who’s named after a more precious and sought-after flower, Violet is down-to-earth and strongly, perhaps even harshly, straightforward. That doesn’t mean she’s dull: on the contrary, Vi is a witty person who does a creative job (well, several creative jobs. Freelance work is tough). But she’ll tell you if she doesn’t like you, she’s painfully aware of her budget and she doesn’t really know which fights she should avoid picking up. On the other hand, there’s a kindness to her, and she tends to fight for other people instead of against them. She’s average in many ways, but she’s average good.

Violet as represented by Serena Marina Marenco

Violet’s family name, too, describes her to a certain extent. Vi’s main personality trait is sarcasm; in fact, it was quite fun to make her a walking avatar of snark. From a sharp wit comes the name Sharpe, which incidentally is also the name of a Bernard Cornwell character that I love. But as most things sharp, Vi is also fragile: bend her too much, and she can break. She’s not invincible nor above asking for help. In writing her, I tried to do my best to convey the idea that “strong” doesn’t mean “made of stone”. That even strong people can falter, cry, perhaps even fall due to their own weaknesses. And that they may take some time to get back up.

Oh, and while it’s only mentioned once in the entire book, Violet has a middle name as well. It’s Ellen. That’s because I have a huge debt of gratitude towards two amazing ladies, Ellen Abernathy and Ellen Joyce, whose precious critique and support helped me complete the book. I thought gracing my main character with their own name would be a good way to honor them. They deserve it.