Friday, August 04, 2006

Interesting exercise

All right, this isn't one of the post topics promised in the last update, but I still think it's of some interest, simply because I hadn't really thought given the matter a great deal of thought before.

At the Atlanta conference, as I believe I mentioned, I pitched a book called Controlled Burn, which I'd finished in draft form a couple of years back and had never quite known what to do with. I started writing it intending it to be literary mainstream fiction, but it turned out to be something a little different. (Or maybe it could be considered literary mainstream, but I'd prefer not to give it away, thank you!) Finally I determined it was women's fiction, pitched it as such, and got an editor interested in having a look at first-3-and-a-synopsis, with a few changes.

One of the changes was a switch from first to third person, in part so I could incorporate the points of view of other characters.

I've done this before with short fiction and it was a fairly straightforward process. But in this case, it's necessitating pretty much a complete rewrite of some sections. The main character spent a lot of time alone in the original draft, and developed a very introspective, moody first-person voice--and a bad tendency to info-dump in the form of internal monologue, which seems far more glaringly obvious when I change the POV.

I think it will be a much stronger piece when I'm done: tighter yet richer, and with better character development for the characters who aren't the current sole narrator. But wow... I'm glad I revised my initial "Sure, I'll get it to you in two weeks!" estimate to "How about after Labor Day?" and that the editor was agreeable.


At 5:27 PM, Blogger Dayle A. Dermatis said...

If you want to keep the introspective, moody voice, you should be able to do it even in third person. But you're right that first person is much harder to write well, because it's so easy to fall into those rambly infodumps.


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