Today’s self-taught lesson is on Perspective
I already talked about POV and how I was actually right and my critics were wrong. This isn’t about POV, though.
Today, I’m going to walk myself through Frame of Reference or Approach.
My second novel isn’t cutting it. I made it through about six chapters when it suddenly fell flat and stopped having sincere meaning for me. I thought I would just chuck it and write something else, or go back to one of my other stories and rework it.
Then it occurred to me that what might really be wrong with the second novel is perspective. The protagonists and mine.
So, after re-reading what I wrote and liking the way it was written for the most part, I decided that it isn’t working for me because it is written more like a PROLOGUE than chapters of a Romance Novel. My choice of word for this is Exordium – because I can and it’s cool.
Prologue (back story or scene-setting intention) is another of those nasty, hated, don’t-go-there aspects of writing the nay-sayers advise against doing – if I want my books to sell.
This dogma I can kind a / sort a empathize with, actually.
Hate to admit to being guilty of not wanting to read a Prologue. I skip it the way I skip raunchy language and crude sex scenes.
Another thing I avoid is paragraph upon eye-strain paragraph of ITALICS (as the modern novelist likes to use wherever and whenever they please).
On the other hand, I also agree with the need of Exordium. Back story sets the scene for the reader, so that they aren’t muddling their way through the book trying to understand nuance without being told.
In both cases, I was told that Italics indicates thought in writing, or a dream sequence. I was also instructed to 86 back story and pretend it never, even existed in the history of writing.
So, I choose to continue using Italics for emphasis only, and to try infusing back story INTO the writing instead of creating an Exordium. Besides, it seems true that Exordium chases away the reader while Epilogue satisfies them (esp. if the story they just read was good enough for them to want to read more and have some questions answered.)
The point is, I arrived at the source of my dislike of the second novel. I didn’t like spending more than one chapter on him and his perspective. Sure, I introduced her in the first chapter, and she kept appearing afterward, but it wasn’t until later that the two actually started to relate.
That was the part that bugged me most and made me want to give up on the story. It reads well, I know, and makes sense. Who he is, why he’s back home, and how he ends up meeting her. But, then his story didn’t need telling anymore and it was time to start explaining who she is, why she’s there, and what she’s thinking about having to live in hiding that isn’t protective custody the way we know it.
Trashing a novel this early in the game doesn’t seem like a huge, unforgivable crime. It also embarrasses me when this happens, because I am so against structure, rules, guidelines, and anything time line. I made enough of those silly things in college to never want to see or make another.
Venn Diagram anyone?
I just need to type. And, by type, I mean structure the story line my way. I open NOTEPAD and name names, describe features, ages, places, occupations, and past transgressions. Typing up the why and the how and the when and the where of these characters in short form prior to typing Chapter One.
I’d rather infuse back story into these chapters using thought dialogue (that isn’t in italics but implied by tags) or by having other characters gossip about it here and there. This avoids the need for an Exordium that MAY or may NOT scare away potential readers.
If you stuck this one out and read this far down and have any thoughts on my writing problem, it’d be great to hear from you and how you go about rearranging, changing, or even just chucking your writing and starting over.