Saturday, November 7, 2009

The 'I's have it! Or do they...?

Just so's you know... I am writing this entry in FIRST PERSON SICK (oh, so sick of being sick... again...) and that's why it's late. *kaff* stupid public transit germ factories *snork*

Right. So. POV. (I love acronyms, btw: "Hey! I can't figure out my POV in this scene - it's like my characters have gone MIA! WTF?")

I've used a variety of 'em in my day. And I'm not sure I have a preference - at least not a general preference; I always, of course, wind up having a very specific preference for the individual work, even if it takes a couple of tries to figure out what that is...

Like my fellow Girls, I too am somewhat enamored of first person. The immediacy of thought. The intimacy of emotion. The "I" factor...


But... but... but...

First person, it does have it's challenges.

The first book I wrote was written entirely in first person. That was cool, because it really let me get deep inside the character, and - in this particular instance - I couldn't have written it any other way. Problem was, the main character was living a second life, had a complete set of memories from his first life, and - over the course of the story - had to tell his story from both a past and present perspective, often including key scenes from his past that had occurred after his death. I had to relate those things through anecdotal evidence from other characters, and everything was filtered through the main character's dual perception.

Yeah. I know what you're thinking. No wonder the damn thing took me so long to write.

In that particular case, plot, structure, characterizations... absolutely everything was a product of the POV I chose to write in. It was... challenging. It was also the book where I learned to write. A worthy exercise? Absolutely. I hope you get to read it someday, 'cause I personally think it kicks a fair bit of arse. (er... and probably needs a fair bit of editing - I was over-fond of adjectives in those days...)

Since that time, the projects I have finished have been written in third person (the book that landed me an agent), and third person close alternating between 2 POVs - those of Sonny Flannery and Kelley Winslow in, of course, my WONDROUS STRANGE trilogy.

The first project was interesting because it gave me a chance to get inside the character's head, while also retaining a degree of 'directorial' control and commentary. It still poses some of the same challenges as first person, ie - you can really only tell the story from one person's perspective, but it lets you focus in close or pull back into a medium or wide shot (to use that aforementioned director-speak) as needed. It's nice and versatile.

As for the WONDROUS books, writing in dueling 3-p-close perspectives, and alternating form chapter to chapter was a ton of fun, because I was able to attack the story from both my protags' perspectives. I was able to get so close, it was almost first person, but able to keep the big picture in view at the same time. It gave the structure and dramatic flow of the story a kind of drive that I wouldn't have gotten with only one perspective. But it was occasionally hellacious to write, if only from a purely logistical stand. Still - I couldn't imagine writing this story - the story of two people from two completely different worlds, who actually, unknowingly belong to those different worlds... it just wouldn't have worked any other way. Still. Oy. It was tough to wrap my head around some days.

In her post, Maureen kindly mentions that my chosen method for these books was not, in fact, madness. That it works. *And here we heave a sigh of relief!* I really appreciate that. Hearing from another writer that you pulled of a tricky bit of the trade (especially hearing that from a writer that you, yourself, admire) is balm to the writerly soul.

I haven't tackled anything major in second person or omniscient yet. Not because I don't appreciate these POVs, I just haven't found projects to suit them yet.

Second would, for me, take a very particular story. It is, I think, the POV where the story and the format are distinctly predicated each upon the other, more so than any other viewpoint.

As for omniscient - I may tackle that next. We'll see. But first, I think I'll need to get rid of this cold, in order to clear up some head space!

1 comment:

Maureen Lipinski said...

No problem! You totally nailed third in your book--I really felt like I was in your characters heads!