Unhappy March Retrospective

In the realm of writing, March in not a month that I would like to think about or talk about.  I would much rather pretend that it didn’t exist at all, but I can’t do that.  All I can do is look at what happened, what didn’t happen, figure out why, and go from there.

So, first, the numbers!  Total words for March:  5,445.  Yes, just over 5k.  Most of it was on flash fic; only about 1200 was on editing.

I did have a few more accomplishments.  I made a pretty picture of my last NaNo (with crayons!), color coding POV character and who was in what scene.  I also imported it to yWriter, breaking it up into scenes and organizing those into chapters.

Well, chapters-ish.  Scenes for me are chapters, so I used the chapters to be more like stages of the work.  It was an interesting way to split, and zeroed home the focus of the major events that define the novel.  That’s something I definitely want to keep doing.

The down side is that that work is a MESS, and it makes me feel like a failure as a writer (and my trying to ignore that is why I got so little done).

The problem is perspective.  I write in 3rd person, but definitely from an attached perspective (at least in most of my novels).  So, although it’s a removed narrator, you’re seeing the world through one person’s eyes (that way, I can lie to you, as their perspective is not necessarily the truth).  They become the lens through which we experience the world.

In the beginning, I bounce perspectives a lot (which I am not whole-heartedly against, though many people seem to be).  In the middle, the groups collapse as people meet up, but the problem is that the last third of the book is ALL from one perspective.  Why?  Because it’s her story.

I guess my philosophy on writing and editing could be summed up as such:  Write everything for the first draft, and in the second, take out everything that isn’t the story.  Those other scenes are fun, and some of them are even important/revealing, but they’re not The Story, so they have to go, which means rewriting the first third, majorly restructuring the middle, and tweeking the ending.

And I just don’t know that the story is worth it.

So what do I take away from this?  Well, the first jump at a takeaway would be to plan out my novels more (and I can hear many of you screaming this at your monitors (okay, mumbling quietly to yourselves)), but that doesn’t work for me.  I’ve tried it more than once, and I wander off about four scenes in, or I lose interest because I already know everything that happens.

I don’t write blindly from scene to scene; I always know what happens next, and have a general idea of what happens in the next few scenes after that.  It’s like following rail road tracks in the fog, and since railroad tracks don’t have sharp bends, I generally know where I am going (none of my other novels have had this fundamental of a problem).  Really, it’s my intuition and subconscious that makes the decisions for me, and I think it more or less knows what it’s doing.

But I think I need to think some about the macroscopic features of the novel while writing, especially when trying multiple perspectives again (spoiler alert! I’m about to).  I have to make sure that it stays balanced, and that if the story doesn’t lend itself to that, that I start with, and stick with one perspective.

Really, IMHO, multiple perspectives are for distributed but related action that builds together.  My 2011 NaNo was NOT that (I mean, it was sort of, at first, but I knew from the beginning it would not end up being that).   Maybe I just need to make post it notes with helpful reminders about these kinds of things, and positive messages.

“Keep writing!”, “It doesn’t suck THAT much!”, “You don’t need ANOTHER POV!”, and “No skipping!” sound good :-P.

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2 Responses to Unhappy March Retrospective

  1. Raquelin says:

    "(that way, I can lie to you, as their perspective is not necessarily the truth). They become the lens through which we experience the world."THIRD PERSON LIMITED IS THE BESTEST FOR THIS REASON. It's like first person, but with better freedom for details.Practice, practice, practice.(Practice, film work, repeat.)And "it's never as good or as bad as it first looks."

  2. cosmam says:

    More freedom for details, and the ability to lie from more than one perspective if need be. Or to remove yourself further from the perspective to tell more of the truth.Technically, this was my second look. Does it get better the third time around?Though practice is what I intend to do. If I'm only okay after writing a million words of fiction, well, then I'll write another million and see where it takes me.

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