Thursday, December 11, 2008

1st vs. 3rd vs. crap

I got an idea into my head a while back and couldn't shake it. Oh, I shook it long enough to finish my first draft of my thesis (wrings thesis's neck), but now that I only have this and that to revise (and I'm still missing a whole slew of critiques for various reasons and some I'm not so clear on and now I'm starting to get irritated because I want to revise and I CAN'T).


Ok. Back to what I was talking about. Basically, on this new book (which I really shouldn't be working on anyway, but fuck it, I am), I want parts of it to be in first person and other parts to be in third person since I want my audience to know things that are important, but still enjoy the first personness.

Actually, that's all beside the point because that isn't the problem. Not entirely anyway.

The 1st person POV is the issue. What I want is for the reader to get into it and enjoy it in the same vein as say, a Stephanie Plum book. I want it to feel immediate, fun, and with a sort of loose candor people can get behind.

Thus far, I'm sucking at it. I couldn't quite figure out why until I thought about how I was writing it and how it was coming out and where the kink was.

The kink, my friends, is in the prologue. Yes, anothe prologue. Hey, it's short and doesn't really work well as a first chapter.

The problem is that I wrote the first chapter as a sort of...semi-flashback. It ends in a way that shows the narrator already knows more than she does at the start of Chapter 1, thus making it so when Chapter 1 rolls around, it's more like a retelling of the story rather than an immediate this-is-happening-now story. No, I'm not writing it in present tense, but rather the usual past tense that has that immediate feeling. I'm reading a book right now by Hugh Laurie (yes, the actor, the guy who plays House, for those of you who watch House) and he's doing a better job than me. HUGH LAURIE.


Not to say that Hugh can't write, or rather, shouldn't be able to write. It's just that I know I can do this and the fact that it's coming out all wrong is pissing me off.

SO. Ok. Prologue makes the rest of the book (or at least the next several chapters of it) seem like a tale being related. It's killing the style. It's too past tense, as it were. The death of said style is ruining the emotion and such.

You know, I had all this sorted out easier into 3 reasons but rambling has ruined it, but it feels good to ramble so whatever. Let's try this:

1.) Prologue indicates narrator already knows what is going to happen, hence
2.) Subsequent chapters have already "happened" and narrator is simply retelling them hence
3.) Initial emotion of said chapters has already occurred, as have actions, thus immediacy is killed.

4...or D...or maybe one of those little subscript things.) I'm so used to writing in 3rd person by now, I think my ability to do 1st person is somewhat dimished.

I think that was them. Ish. So now I have two choices. I'll probably end up doing one of them instead of plowing ahead because this whole thing is annoying the fuck outta me.

1.) Fix the end of the prologue somehow so it doesn't give the "narrator already knows" impression
2.) Adjust the opening of the first chapter to adjust for the narrator knowing and doing a retelling (up until a certain point)

Either way I choose, I'll have to redo a lot of stuff. Still, at least I know where the problem is.

I dunno.

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