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Creation of "The Watch"

I submitted this piece as my final assessment for ENGL201, and I recieved a Credit for it. While I was happy with this piece, this shows I can always improve. We're only human after all.

When I began this piece, I had no clear idea what to write about; however what I wanted have a single focaliser for this piece. Placing cues and having a solid point-of-view was something that I also struggled with in previous pieces that I had submitted for academic review, so I wanted to write a personal story with a single focus and a strong point-of-view.

I was worried a single focus many impact on creative capabilities. However, from viewing the importance of point-of-view as “being the frame within which the story happens… it’s important to ask, who is telling the story?” helped to dismiss those concerns. Additionally, the elements of plot, character, setting and theme enable writers to have an adaptive means of discovering meaning in their work and a method to stretch it. For successful creativity, getting the voice right with simplicity of style and a concrete image enables the writer to stand to one side so that the image can get to work on their behalf. This gave me confidence to use this method to create a stronger story.

An early idea arose in the creative process about telling the story of an object and its life journey. Showing normal commonplace life from an objects point-of-view sounded like a unique, fresh story idea, and personifying the object and giving it human thought processes only would add huge emotional aspects to it.

I decided to use a watch after my girlfriend showed me a metal fob watch she owned. I borrowed the watch and took photographs to use as a stimulus. I then decided to do a word exercise with the word “fob watch” to try and get a sense of a watch’s point-of-view and voice. From the exercise of writing words similar to watches, I focused on pockets, hands, time and function. I felt I had something to go with in terms of telling a story, so I decided to write a piece based around the fob watch. Its ‘antique’ status then gave me the idea of setting the story during the industrial revolution.

I researched London during the 1800s, noting down how new industries drove city growth and generated powerful smog that hung over the city. I also found reference to the watch company “Arnold & Dent”, where the story could begin. I then came up with a plot for the story, deciding the watch was given to a man as a gift, before passing it to his son, with it ending up in the British Museum.

I began writing my first draft, which was extremely hard. I used a third person subjective method as it gave a distant, yet personal account. After the first draft I got a strong sense of London’s environment, and life from the watch’s point-of-view. Many plot aspects (e.g. the orphanage) also came out of this draft.

However, I felt that the focalisation of the watch was quite patchy, and that some images in the story weren’t very clear. I left the first draft for over a week; but then I decided to rewrite the story with a more distant narrator to try and expand the world I was presenting. This enabled me to incorporate the personal feelings of the watch, showcase the historical period, and expand symbolism in the story. This distant narrator worked better, enabling the story to be viewed at multiple angles (not just the angle of the watch), and allowing for a better focalisation of the watch.

I still wasn’t satisfied, and so decided to rewrite it again. In my second draft, no characters had names, but were instead referred to by appearance, such as “The Moustache Man” or “The Boy” being the masters. I found this very distancing, and so in my new draft the watch’s ‘masters’ were given names. No one anyone else was named, but their features were highlighted in capitals. With this, I felt like I got to know the masters more through this more personal view. This draft also had a different ending; incorporating the London Museum for the watch to end its ‘life’ as a display. This gave more emotion to the watch’s demise, and also gave a sense of a ‘journey’ and that the story and the journey came to an end.

Overall, this was tough piece to write, and while the story was great, I wish I could’ve improved on the style of writing. I felt I presented a stronger voice and narrator than in previous pieces I had done, and enjoyed the use of third person subjectivity, as it highlighted many of the piece’s elements well. Creatively, the piece was a more unique and complex view on the world. However, I feel I could have improved the focalisation of the watch more, and I feel the story as a whole could have been trimmed more. I did like what I wrote overall, but I would have preferred to have had more time to work on it.


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