Monday, July 31, 2006

Opening Up the Story

Hey there to anyone who still might pop in. Here's my latest update:

I made it to chapter five two weeks ago. I know, it took three weeks to write three chapters. Wait a minute, I forgot ... that's a chapter a week. I was really rolling along. I was in the zone. It feels like so long now because I have barely added page count since hitting chapter five.

I tried not to pressure myself. I actually wrote chapter 5 but knew something was missing. Wrote a different opening. It's OK, I thought, but still it wasn't clicking. After two weeks, I was beginning to feel pretty down about it. Why did I want to write a fantasy? YA was already new to me, now I have to go and complicate it? Yes, I did, I reminded myself. I gave myself plenty of time to see what kinds of stories came naturally to me. They were mostly fantasy.

So, anyway, through Paperback Writer's blog, I found an article on fantasy by Kate Elliott. It reminded me that "Using a single point of view is usually too linear and too narrow when you're dealing with a cast of thousands, which is the preferred method these days, it seems. You want scope, and scope means time, space, and multitudes." Now, I don't have a cast of thousands, but I do have a varied cast, from three distinctly different backgrounds. Only telling the story from my protag's POV was proving too linear. That's one of the reasions that I couldn't go on. Once I wrote a scene from another character's POV, it opened all sorts of possibilities. Then, over the weekend, I found another character to work through. I'm still on the fence about him ... he's the villain with the knowledge of everything that's happening. The scene could be told from the other character in the scene's POV since I told it from a fairly omniscient POV. Hmmm ... I just thought of that as I wrote this. I'm going to play with this when I go home. Maybe keep that scene mostly omniscient, with a taste of the other character's POV instead of the villain's, and then in the next scene with him, I will go deeper into his POV. He has more to rise up to than the villain. The villain is already rising to everything. Yes! Thank you for letting me figure this out here!

OK, so the other thing I realized was that my back story was a little too complex. I was having a rough time carry it all out since everything in this story is motivated by what happened in that back story (see previous post). So, on Saturday morning, when I was banging my head, unable to write, I realized I had to simplify and nail some things down for good. This was so valuable. Having the back story a little more simple has given the current story more motivation and clarity. It is making it easier for me to focus. There is one solid goal now for me to work with. My protag's situation more clear and less cluttered.

Which leads me to the last thing that really helped. I had introduced a book, with so many of the answers to the back story. It was kind of cool, but it kept tripping me up. All my protag had to do was read the book to understand a lot of what was happening. So then all the dialog ended up being consumed with my characters trying to interpret the book. Bleh. No book, no translating, just action now. The villain setting the pace. The villain knowing everything he's set up and, now, at the book's opening, it starting to come to fruition. Simple. Or more simple.

So I've written two new scenes in two different points of view, and, to me, it has opened up the scope of my story without, I think, diluting it. I think it's made it more powerful and driven. Focused and moving. There is much happening and they all tie together. There was no way for my protag to tell it and live it all for the reader to discover. So many things at stake for each faction.

Oh, and I changed the title of my story. Before it only represented one faction of my characters, but, as I realize how all the factions are going to play together, I took the name of the book that I deleted from the story. Now my mind is opened wider with my title as well.

So, that's where I am. I hope you are moving along as well. Discovering, pondering, expanding, learning, writing.

Hugs, C

Powered by Blogger