Friday, May 28, 2010

My writing break is coming to an end

I took May off, needing a break between books, and wanting a chance to really think about the next book, without the pressure of producing pages for my critique group.
And the break was great, I read, I brainstormed and in the end, I have a starting place for the next book and a very ambitious writing schedule.

I read some great books, Souless, Vampire Academy, and I managed to steal Maureen's arc of Chevy Steven's book Still Missing and it is amazing. Seriously gripping and so different from other suspense books I've read.

And it got me thinking about POV. (Maureen does the best explanation of POV and tense I've ever heard, so I won't try and explain anything other than my twisted thinking on it)
I've just finished a book with seven POV's and multiple storylines, and am prepared to start a book with first person POV. This changes the structure of the book, subplots have to be handled carefully and everything revolves around the central heroine, a huge change of pace for me, but it gives me an opportunity to make everyone in the book a mystery.

The restricted POV needs to be an opportunity to create tension as she decides how to interpret the actions of those around her. Which is what Chevy does so remarkably well in Still Missing.

I'm keeping it in mind as I create characters, what actions best define their characters? And in the end, what are their secrets and how will the heroine discover them?

I've got two more days on my self imposed break, and I'm trying not to start this book, trying to keep working on plotting and character studies.

Maybe I can sneak in one more book in the next two days..

7 comments:

Stephanie Doyle said...

Great post Sinead. I love first person sometimes. I think Hunger Games was such a great example of how urgent you can make everything feel when you're so deep into the hero/heroine's POV. And I love (if done well) how you can just "know" some things about the other characters even when the heroine doesn't know it herself.

That said... I'm such a turkey I don't know that I could ever do it. I would feel too much like walking blind through a maze as I wrote. I need to have that sense of direction and control over all the characters. At least for now.

Good luck!

Eileen said...

The first time I started writing in first person, I felt like I was walking on a tightrope. It felt so dangerous!

I also found it to be incredibly freeing. I could let my voice be my voice and didn't have to filter so much. It was very exhilirating.

Chevy Stevens said...

Glad you liked the book, Sinead! I've tried to write in third person before, but I can't connect with the characters the same. It feels awkward and weird. When I write in first I feel what the character feels, then it comes from inside out.

Maureen McGowan said...

I think you're going to love writing in first person, Sinead. Particularly if you go with present tense (like Hunger Games or Forest of Hands and Teeth) but past would be good, too. Present tense is awesome for suspense, because the reader's right there with the protagonist... but it's definitely possible to create that tension using past tense, too.

First person, more than anything, makes you really think about how to show (vs. tell), because, like you said, you never get the chance to go into the other characters' heads, so it's always your main character interpreting and guessing the motives of everyone else. And you need to figure out what it is that the protagonist is seeing and how they might interpret (or misinterpret) it.

Molly O'Keefe said...

You know I feel bad about my inital reaction to you trying 1st person (it was basically - are you nuts? That's so hard!) But I think like all things that are hard when we feel like trying them, it probably means we should - that we're ready to push ourselves someplace new. So, go for it!

Of course you can fit one more book in...

Sinead M said...

Molly, that's so funny, I don't even remember that being your reaction.
I do know we both had the same reaction to Maureen's excellent suggestion of present tense, and how it sounded so hard.... and I rejected it because it was too difficult...

And as usual Maureen was right.

Simone said...

First person is crazy hard, but I love it. I feel like I found my voice when I started writing in first person, and did some of my best writing (well, IMO. We'll see what the agents I submitted to think.)

My suggestion is to read really good first-person books as you're writing, no matter the genre. Those who have mastered first person can really teach you how to do it if you read closely.

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