Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Hazards Of Writing In First Person

I was reading Elizabeth George's WRITE AWAY last night. The chapter about picking your POV. She mentioned something interesting that I hadn't given much thought to before. She said that most neophyte writers (is it just me or does that word make us sound like a bunch of clueless hacks? (g)) write their first novels in first person because they believe it's the easiest of all the POV's. However, she would argue that that is a complete misconception because plotting is a bitch in 1st--mainly because you can't slip into another character's POV when you're in a bind. (g) Okay, she didn't say that last bit exactly like that, but that was the gist of her point.

I agree!

Well, I don't quite fit into the whole "I'm going to write my first book in 1st because I believe it's easier" part. I actually started writing FI in third and it just felt all kinds o' wrong. When I slipped into first, it began to flow. I'll never regret that decision. It makes Madison come alive under my fingers, and I love it. However, I DO agree with the other -- plotting in first person is a pain in the arse! :)

So, I took a weekend sabbatical from FI. I hadn't really intended to, but with Father's Day, and work, and just some general confusion about several scenes plaguing me to no end, I needed time to stew. My problem was that I was having a hard time grasping the motivation of one of my non-POV characters. As a good chunk of this book centers around Madison playing off this particular character -- having to deal with the reprucussions of his actions -- both on a professional and personal level -- I needed to get a better handle on him. Simple as that.

Erm, not so simple. I had to answer one big question -- WHY?? Why does he do this -- why does he say that. Why does he say this when he actually means something entirely different? Why does he hide this from her, but then reveal it in the next scene? Oh man, I was full of Why?? Poor Jenna had to listen to me run through it all. Bless her for her patience. (g)

So, this is what I did. First I mulled it all over, and then I pulled out a lot of hair. Then I mulled some more.

After talking to Jenna, I decided it was time to write some of this stuff down. (g) I wrote down a header for each scene giving me trouble and then wrote down a few lines explaining why this character does/says such and such, and any possible after effects I saw coming in later scenes. I wouldn't call it an outline, exactly, but I guess you could. LOL. It's more just a form of SOC from my non-POV character so that when I'm writing/reworking these scenes, I'll have a better handle on his motivations at any particular time, and hopefully, I won't become so totally confused again. Three days ago, I didn't think all of these scenes would be able to fit into the same book (eeee!! Panic attack!). Now I see they all do -- and that they work exceedingly well together. So even though I was freaking out, my subconscious had all my ducks in a row. Yay. I swear, it's freaky.

Right now I'm working on a pretty pivotal scene that I couldn't even start before this weekend. It's coming together -- 1400 words just today. I guess it would be easier if my characters were more honest with each other, but alas, where's the drama in that? (g) All will soon be revealed, tho. Muhahaha. I can't wait to send this out to readers -- I hope it all makes sense and works in total.

No comments: