The social novel, is also known as thesocial problem (or socialprotest) novel, the sociological novel and is a work of fiction, which dramatizes a prevailing social problem through the effect they have on the novel’s characters. Topics covered can be as diverse as gender, race, or class prejudice although the narrative can also address poverty, conditions in factories or mines, violence against women, rising criminality and epidemics caused by poor sanitation or overcrowding in urban areas.
Other terms used to define this genre are thesis novel, propaganda novel, industrial novel, working-class novel and problem novel. A more recent development in this genre is the young adult problem novel.
Early examples can be found in 18th century England, as well as throughout Europe and the United States. Henry Fielding’s Amelia (1751) and William Godwin’s Things as The Are OR The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794) are thought precursors of the genre. During the social and political upheavals following the Reform Act of 1833 in England social novels began, such as Charles Dickens’ novels highlighting poverty and unhealthy living conditions. Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables (1862) was a significant protest novel. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) dealt with anti-slavery and The Grapes of Wrath is probably the best known social protest novel.
Characters are portrayed living in absolute poverty and diabolical circumstances. We feel for their plight. Can they be saved? Who has the compassion and wealth to help? Unfortunately, in reality there have been, and are, many poor ‘wretches’ suffering similar conditions in the real world. It is not only third world countries that have people only managing to exist. Regrettably, a larger percentage of these are female.
I endeavor to steer clear of politics and religion on this blog, as I feel everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That being said I would like to bring to your attention a charity, whose work is ensuring girls and women around the world have a chance. I am certainly not pushing anyone to go to the links: http://becauseiamagirl.ca/ OR http://plan-international.org/girls// Everyone is free to make their own choices as to the charities they support. This is a personal belief and I will not preach.
On a side note, the basis of my novel, Life in Slake Patch, is a world under matriarchy rule due to the near annihilation of the world’s population under patriarchy rule. Could it happen?
Posthaste – definition: with the greatest possible speed or promptness
Please welcome Caroline Ludovici, her anxiousness as a child to begin writing is evident.
a) What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy submerging myself into the story and being transformed to another place. I love creating people that are so real and lifelike, who seem to take me on a journey.
b) What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I started writing short stories when I was nine or ten. But as a child, my greatest pleasure was the essay assignments at school, where, for the weekend, we where to choose one of three essays posted on the board. I would always look forward to writing all three. Often the teacher would read them out in class. But it was my struggle with spelling that was a big problem, holding me back in many ways. They didn’t know about dyslexia in those days, but now, looking back, I realize I suffered terribly because of it.
c) Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
It has stayed the same. YA. I love writing adventure stories with a bit of history thrown in somehow, so they are interesting as well as exciting, and hopefully may spark the curiosity of the reader into wanting to investigate more about history and archaeology.
d) What genre are you currently reading?
I am researching for my next book. I am reading nonfiction about pirates, the Ottoman Empire, and Algeria.
e) Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
Mostly, I must confess, I read for research. Reading doesn’t come easily to me and it is more of a chore than a pleasure. I get frustrated with detail and waffle. Even when reading a newspaper, I like the headlines but not the long drawn out detail one has to read before getting to the point. Funnily enough, I love to surround myself with books, and I often wander through antiquarian bookshops when I am in England, always coming out with something interesting I intend to read. I have bookshelves at home brimming and overflowing with books I will someday finish. If I could lay every book on my forehead and somehow absorb the information telepathically, I would be very, very happy. So much effort is taken up in the actual process reading a paragraph, that often I have not taken in what the paragraph is about at all and have to start over. It is horrible, yet I am so keen to read. When someone gives me a book to read, it is honestly, like handing you book of long division. I think I must be an unusual sort of author!
f) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
The children who give me feedback of The Obsidian Mask are the ones who encourage me most. Without their liking it, there would be much less incentive to write more exciting archaeological adventures.
g) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
That’s a tough question. I love them all. Marcello is the most flamboyant character; he is an emotional archaeologist, who takes everything to heart, loving what he does even if he finds excavating rather moving at times. Natasha 15, is deep and sensitive, having trouble accepting her mother’s new relationship. Lorenzo, Marcello’s son, longs for his father’s approval, and is always trying to do the right thing even if he finds it very restricting. Alex, Natasha’s younger brother, is happy-go-lucky, but seems to get a raw deal in any tricky situation they find themselves in. Gabriella, though at first is seemingly annoying, especially to Natasha is sensible and brave, even if she is a bit prissy. All the characters grow and develop throughout the stories. I have to say that the Contessa, who we meet for the first time in book two, Secrets of The River, is such fun to write. She is a strict, uptight old lady, who lives with her grand children, Gabriella and Lorenzo, but she has a lot more to hide than the average Italian grandma.
Where is your favorite writing space?
At my coffee table in the family room. I find my office a bit lonely and quiet.
h) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?
I have an outline in my head of what the story is about. But how it develops is entirely up to the people in the book. I guess that means I am a seat of the pants writer. Sometimes the story goes off in a totally different direction, which is fine by me, as long as it turns out right in the end! The hardest part is knowing when to stop.
i) What inspires your ideas/stories?
I love history and archaeology, and being true adventurer at heart, my experiences seep into the books through the characters. This makes the stories so realistic and believable. I think the market is flooded with so much sci-fi and fantasy, it is time to get back to real, down-to-earth adventures with great characters that the reader will get to know and relate to.
j) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
Yes I do, The Main Line Writers Group.
k) Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
The first book in the trilogy is The Obsidian Mask. It is available at Barnes and Noble on line,
Destitution – definition: a lack of the means to survive or subsist : utter poverty
This is the first image that came to my mind – Oliver Twist begging for more – as I read today’s word. Charles Dickens portrayal of poverty in the English 18th century was personified by Oliver; to my mind anyway. There was of course, Tiny Tim, in A Christmas Carol but Oliver’s endurance through the workhouse and his subsequent escape from the undertaker are more compelling. Once he was enrolled with Fagin and his gang of young pickpockets, Oliver’s life begins to change. There is kindness and friendship shown to him by Nancy and the Artful Dodger and later his salvation comes in the shape of Mr. Brownlow. Oliver’s innocence and inherent goodness shows through every aspect of his story. Charles Dickens created characters so beautifully rounded that you were drawn or repelled by them in equal measure.
May I introduce you to G.G. Anderson, a YA author. As you will find out today’s word describes her stories well…Trove – definition: 1) a discovery, find 2) a valuable collection : treasure : haul
a) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
My favorite character is Elliot from The Guardians of Feral Mountain. He is a deep and difficult to read ghost with lots of emotional hang ups. He was truly fun to work with.
b) Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I prefer Young Adult/ New Adult, but am currently working on two chick lit pieces. I guess that makes me a bit of a dabbler.
c) What do you enjoy most about writing?
For me, I love opening up what I call the Pandora’s Box and allowing the characters to come out and play. I never really know where they are going to go, so it is an adventure for me as well! Having a stranger like your works is always amazing, too. It helps you know you are not alone!
d) Have you got a favorite place to write?
Not really. I can write literally anywhere. I can write in crowded places, even loud spaces. When the characters start playing, they are hard to ignore.
e) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
Both. Sometimes, I see the entire story line before I start; sometimes they lead me where I am to go. I have never been a formal outline person that is for sure.
f) What inspires your stories?
Inspires? The voices in my head isn’t the right answer is it? (laughing) No, really the thoughts and ideas just come to me. I know I glean a few things from stories and books I read, movies I see and people I meet, but few of them are ever spot on. Names on the other hand, those totally are stolen. I have been to known to use descriptions of people I know in works too.
g) What are you currently reading?
I am reading a couple of different books at the same time. I always am reading pieces for a critique group I am in. Pleasure reading, I am reading Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon and I just finished the Beautiful Creatures series.
h) Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?
Not really. I was such a boring kid. I didn’t do sports, wasn’t talented in music. Couldn’t do anything really spectacular. My life was pretty normal. Odd habits? Hmmm, I think I will plead the fifth!
i) Do you have any pets?
Well maybe this is my odd habit! I have many pets. I adore dogs. My poor husband didn’t marry the crazy cat lady, he married the crazy dog lady. We have 4 dogs, 2 cats and fish. I love my animals. They are part of our family.
j) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I belong to the Idaho Writer’s Guild. Plus I am involved in a local critique group and I partake in online critiques through Authonomy, a Harper Collins site.
k) What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I started writing poems- really, really bad poems in junior high. It was very shortly after that I headed straight into actual novels.
l) Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
Oh a plug! I love it. I have one book available on Kindle only. It is called The Guardians of Feral Mountain. It’s a coming of age ghost story. Feral, a 14 year old girl chooses to run into the woods to live on her own to escape her situation. She moves into an abandoned cabin only to find out it is inhabited by ghosts.
m) If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?
Oh this is so difficult. There are a few. Sorry I can’t pick just one. I would start with Charles Dickens simply because I think his story telling is amazing. Edgar Allen Poe because he was crazy, which would definitely be an interesting evening lastly Robert Frost. His poems still move me like very few ever have.
n) If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Honestly, right where I am. I traveled quite a bit when I was young, stateside mostly, but I wouldn’t choose any place over Idaho. I love it here.
I have a few Works in Progress. Currently I am editing The Reluctant Witch, New Adult genre. Plus I have two Chick Lit pieces that are simply fun works- who knows where they will go. I have another one I am working on edits for called The Elemental Souls and the Crystal Prophecy. So I guess the answer is yes, I have a LOT of plans!
r) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
I am fortunate to belong to a wolf pack of women! They are tenacious and incredibly loyal. They are a huge support. My husband is always there for me, but honestly, my older sister is really the one who has kept me writing when I didn’t know if I could keep going. She’s always a huge cheerleader for my work.
As you can see G.G. is full of ideas and inspiration, what a fun guest.