This is another one for my notebook and compost heap. This is the rough outline of a historical fiction novel I started, but have decided not to proceed with. I love historical fiction, and the ones that I respect and admire typically are written by an author who has spent many many years researching the history. Traveling this path for awhile (I’ve poured many many hours into this project) I’ve learned something about myself, I’m not really an aspiring historical fiction writer. The thing that speaks the to me are moral and ethical issues. This is one reason I am so drawn to historical fiction, but developing my skills as a historical fiction writer is not the direction I want to go.
So with that in mind, I’ve decided to make public all my notes and story outline that I’ve created so far about this story I wanted to write. You can find them all under the category “James MacAvoy.” I hope that someone will write an inspiring historical fiction novel about the Highland Clearance. There’s some out there, I haven’t read any of them yet.
James MacAvoy: Character Development
Speaking to his father: You only like me if I’m a step below you, if I am weaker than you, if I have less success than you or fewer friends than you. I have to be a couple degrees below you for you to be comfortable around me, otherwise you feel threatened and sabotage my progress. You don’t like me if I have success and progress. You don’t value my thoughts and my views. You are basis towards my ideas and unable to see value in them without even giving them an honest chance. You don’t take the time to honestly think about and evaluate the idea, you just impulsively see if as flawed and childish. Perhaps this is easier for you because you have less pain, you weren’t hurt as deeply as I was.
He was illiterate, his father was betrayed by the clergy who stole their land and sold it. Deeply religious. He saw the minister as the “oracle of truth but, sadly, he was often the puppet of the estate whose power he feared and whose support he received. The theme from the pulpit to the pew was that troubles were merely part of the punishment inflicted by Providence in the course of man working out his redemption.” (Stories of the Highland Clearances, Introduction).
He father was a jerk, jaded by the unjust treatment from his religious leaders. James was a doormat who appalled the jerkish behaviors of others, but being deeply religious, often minimized the justified the ill treatment that came from the religious leaders making excuses for them so that he could make sense of it. Due to some heart wrenching events, he starts to re-evaluate his views on the doormat vs. the jerk.
He’s torn between the seemingly two options: to be the oppressed or to be the oppressor. He watches his dad (or grandpa) who he loves, admires, and respects but who is also oppressed, cowers, and submits and feels confused. But he respects him more than the cunning cruelty of his oppressors. He is tired of being oppressed, but refuses to become the oppressors. If he has to choose between the two, he’ll choose the oppressed.