Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Dear Charlie:

Now this is interesting.

My revision process has hit a fascinating, if unexpected, turn. In tidying up my perspective and such, I've decided to make each scene from a particular point of view, ne? So far, this hasn't been a problem, as most of the beginning is from Bryn's point of view until we get to know Jita and Gabin a bit more, anyway.

However, now that I'm so much more aware of point of view, I realize that it will likely be a jolt to step into either Jita's or Gabin's heads where I intended to, though it seemed an easy enough transition before.

The problem? Simple.

Third person omniscience.

The solution? Well, I'm working on that.

See, when I initially wrote the tale, I started out strictly in Bryn's POV, then gradually switched to a more omniscient narrator. Now that I know better, I know I can't do that. Well, I can, but not until I've published several books and have earned some lenience. *grin*

This time through, I kept in Bryn's POV until I hit a snag in that first fight between her and Jita. First, it's only a "fight" from Bryn's POV. When I slip so naturally into Jita's POV, it's a "spar". For some reason, that jolted me this time around. The words are not interchangeable, as anyone who's done either knows.

I didn't know before that I couldn't just jump around between the two like that.

So, I decided to organize things by being more strict with my POVs, as I was in a novella I wrote recently. It was strictly from 2 POVs, and I was so deep into those POVs that it was almost stream of consciousness, though more structured.

I've become pretty fond of that, and I decided to give it a go here, though with more than 2 POVs. Hell, I have 3 main characters, a bunch of bad guys that the good guys don't even KNOW about, and several supporting characters who are as important to the plot as the main characters and just haven't been introduced yet.

This is where the problem came in.

I can't just jump into Jita's head so fully like 70-some pages into the story. It's a jolt. It jolted me, and I knew what the hell was going on.

I've been in Bryn's head for 70+ pages. I can't just suddenly be in someone else's because it's convenient, and I can't tell the entire story from just her POV. It's a sci-fi. It just doesn't work that way. You wouldn't hear about the bad guys -- who aren't only instrumental to the plot but ARE the plot -- until they showed up.

If I thought jumping into Jita's head was a jolt, I can only imagine how smoothly THAT would go down!

A solution immediately presented itself, but I was too tired last night to work on it, so I put it off until a more opportune time. The solution? Bring both his and Gabin's POV in sooner, so it's not such a jolt. Simplicity itself, ne?

Well, not so much.

I have found the perfect place to bring Jita in, but it's still pretty far into the story -- only about ten pages sooner than before, actually. I'm working on it, and it's going swimmingly, but it's still too late in the narrative. Gabin's is after that, even, so that's not too helpful, either.

Then, inspiration hit. Eureka! By Jove, I have it, Watson! The perfect place to bring the boys in! It's in the first chapter, it's a natural break in Bryn's POV already, and I'd been curious in my own mind as to what the boys were doing at that particular point, anyway. It's BRILLIANT!

Of course, it means adding 2 or 3 pages of exposition to an already lengthy book, but if it solves this POV problem, I'm sure I can nip something else later.

I'm SO relieved. *grin* Now, I can continue.


At 12:22 PM, Blogger Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Heh, what are 2-3 pages compared to 400+ just in book one? I can see what you mean, though, about 70+ pages in a single POV. Switching to Jita or Gabin at that time would indeed be jarring.

Excellent work, Sis!!

You know, I really ought to keep this in mind for my series as well. Knowing the changing of the guard at the end of book 2, I don't want to suddenly dump Dharman's POV into book 3 without a little warning back in book 2. I'm still considering removing Varne's POV entirely, but I'm not sure. I really need to make sure his lack of understanding about the significance of blood sacrifice between Shannari and her Blood is obvious, for later villainous acts in book 4 or 5 (whenever I get there). The whole showing vs. telling, you know? Do I just show his reluctance over and over and hope the reader is suprised and alarmed when Varne suddenly wants a little of her blood too?

Sorry, didn't meant to turn YOUR blog into MY dumping ground. My brain just shot off on this....

At 1:01 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

Oh, like I've never turned YOUR blog into MY dumping ground....

Hell, that's what this thing's for! Pursuing trains of thought to the end of the line!

I want to tell you to cut Varne out as much as possible, but I know what you mean about not wanting it to be a shocker later. You could probably get away with just touching his POV once or twice without giving him enough page-time to be a "hero" of sorts, ya know? You don't want to indicate that he's a real love interest by giving him too much front row, but you do need to have him set up as an important enough character that it won't be a surprise when he figures in so highly later.


At 1:15 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

You know, the more I think about it, the more I think that, the further I get in this story, the more appropriate that third person omniscient POV will be. Better still, I think it'll be a natural transition.

After all, it will no longer be mostly Bryn's POV, ne?

As the characters become closer and more important, the bad guys spiraling around the good guys, the good guys learning more about each other -- especially with the telepathy that develops between the main three -- I think omniscience will just sort of settle in, you know? I think it will be unavoidable.

I'll gradually get softer and softer on the strict differences between the POVs until there's not much of a line.

I think, if I'm very careful, it just...might...WORK.


At 1:47 PM, Blogger Joely Sue Burkhart said...

I do agree about Varne. He is NOT the hero, and I don't want it to be obvious that he's a VILLAIN until he does his dastardly deed in book 4 or 5, wherever it falls. I think by NOT giving him a POV, it'll be clear that Dharman is a HERO. I'll just have to decide about Jorah, Sal, Lew....Yes, they are heroes too. I don't recall any POV for them right now, but maybe that's something I should keep in mind. I've never written a scene from Sal's POV. How fun could that be?

And I agree about YOUR POV choices. Omniscient is very common in sf-f/f. I've hardly read something that wasn't, actually. As important as your bad guys are, I think omniscient makes perfect sense the deeper you get. After all, the lines sorta blur between bad guys, right? I know you're especially fond of Sova.

Okay, this is really, really strange. I am an idiot. I swear, I just now noticed that like all nearly all your characters' names are 4 characters. Did you do that on purpose? Gabin changes to Taro....Who of the major players doesn't have a 4-character name (not including their "title")??

At 2:45 PM, Blogger GutterBall said...

*wicked grin* Just cracked to that, did you?

Yes, my characters do tend to have four-letter names. I wanted them to be relatively short and very phonetic, especially the Ino-din, Eso-din, and Kosenian names.

At any rate, the aliens have four-letter names. Only the Ea-din have more or fewer letters, except for Pasi, and I have a good reason for that, which I'll get to later.

Kasen, Gabin's son. Gabin himself, once he picked an Ea-din name. Kahri, Jita's Ea-din mate. Dixon, affectionately known as Dig. Rowan, Dylan, Gloria, Bryn's adoptive family -- though I just realized that her dad, Mark, is a four-letter one, darn it. I may have to fix that, but he just seemed like a Mark, you know? At any rate, you get the point.

I picked "Bryn" because it sort of fit the pattern, but still masqueraded as an Ea-din name.

And, I picked "Pasi" because, while Gabin was trying to be more human for her, he was still an Ino-din at heart, and he wanted an Ino-din mate. Notice how he describes her. Strong. "If her features had been a bit more delicate, she'd have looked Ino-din." Feisty and a bit rebellious. Strong-minded. Etc. He wanted an Ino-din, so he picked the closest thing he could find. I wanted her name to signify that.

Worst thing is, she ended up being the most weak human of the lot. *shakes head*


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