Normally I don’t blog about writing. I don’t know why I shy away from it exactly. Maybe I think it’s a waste of time for me to write about writing when I could be writing instead of writing about writing.
Sorry about that last sentence. Horrifying. *cringes a little*
But here’s the thing: I’m stuck. Like, uber stuck. Stuck like poor Ollie. (If you don’t know who Ollie is, read this.)
Last winter I decided to re-write my work-in-progress from a third person perspective. Holy cow, it blew the whole thing open. I loved the added dimensions to the story, the ability to shift view-points and see what’s happening through different perspectives. It was a good thing.
But as I did it, the story shifted. And since the story blossomed into one of epic proportions, a little shift can cause a huge earthquake down the line. I feel like I’m navigating those story-line waters pretty well right now, but I’ve been plugging away at it for so long, I’ve come to a problem with the third-person perspective.
It’s grown stale. I’m feeling more and more disconnected from my characters, who I love. They are vibrant, each with their own story to tell. But I feel like I’m losing them into a two-dimensional world. Some days that world feels one-dimensional. Some characters have blended into the computer screen entirely.
So now I’m toying with the idea of re-writing…again, in first person. But honestly, I’m terrified of writing more than one character in first person. What if I can’t make each voice unique? What if everything becomes unbelievable because every character sounds the same?
Oh, the doubt and self-loathing.
Tell me I’m not the only one stuck in life. Maybe it’s not in writing. Maybe it’s a yoga pose you can’t master. Maybe it’s an inability to make the perfect pie crust. Maybe it’s that you’ve let your dog’s toenails grow too long because clipping them eebs you out. (Maybe every single one of those examples comes from my own life.)
I am one messed-up Midwestern chica.
*crooked grin that says I’m smiling, but I’m not happy*
7 thoughts on “Stick, Stack, STUCK.”
I love the expression, “eebs you out.” Maybe that expression is common to you youthful Citizens of The Night, and I — as one of the Old Ones Who Inhabit Center Earth — am hearing it for the first time because my hearing’s going south. But whatever the reason, I like the sound of eebs.
As far as feeling stuck, I’ve found many reasons for becoming mired in that oily mud puddle. Second and triple guessing point of view is just one reason (I wrote three parts of a WIP — Harry Felton: http://bit.ly/nS7RMv — then allowed fear that I couldn’t keep up the quality and depth stick, stack stuck me till I can’t continue).
Please don’t listen to putative experts who these days tell us that first-person POV is a “bad thang.” Oftentimes, although not always, experts become experts because submissive students give them permission to be so. Go back to first person if that’s what keeps your story alive for you.
Hi Anthony! Thanks for the sweet, encouraging words. It’s always good to know we’re not alone (ahhh, Kristen would be so proud.) I’m still chewing on what the solution is going to be…but I love, love, love your feedback. I think after working on something for so long, it’s easy to lose sight of the project (does that make sense?). The creativity gets squelched by the self-doubt. Anyway, thanks! #WANA1011 RULES! 🙂
Myndi, I have found that you need to follow your gut. If you let all the other noise fall away and listen carefully, you’ll know what’s right for you and your story. Do that no matter what anyone else says, because that is the story that needs to be told. That is the story that will come alive on the paper because it comes from your heart. And it’s that your readers will pick up on and devour in the end. I’m just saying.
When people start pooh-poohing first person, I put my hands up to my ears and start singing real loud, “Lalalalalalalalalalalalalala!” If you are writing YA, I think the young adults still eat that stuff up regardless.
Good luck hon.
Thanks Debra! I’m super-hopeful that if I play with it this week, I’ll see what the right thing to do is. I forget – what genre are you writing in? How’s your WIP coming?
Hey Anthony and Debra, I was curious – you both seem to have run into some kind of push-back regarding first-person perspective. Can you tell me a little more about that? I’ve only had one gentle mention of the ‘downfalls’ of first-person, nothing offensive; the rest of my hesitation comes from my own whispering fears. 🙂 I’d love to hear where you’re coming from!
Ugh, I can absolutely relate. I ran into the same problem with this past summer’s project. I went from a first-person linear storyline to a multi-perspective 3rd-person extravaganza that added so much depth on all sides and could have led to a number of brilliant subsequent novels… had I actually finished the project. Unfortunately, it’s still sitting in a desktop folder where I left it in August. I plan to return to it one day. After working on it for almost five months and not feeling good about any of the possible directions it could take, it just lost the allure. It started to feel so much like work, and that, for me, is the death of a good idea. So I backed off. I’m waiting until I can think about it and not feel overwhelmed. Once the arghhh wears off, and I can wholeheartedly throw myself into it with fresh eyes and a renewed sense of perspective, I’m confident it will become a bestseller ;p
Good luck!! I hope you find a solution that works for you 🙂
Sometimes time away can be a good thing. Funny how we put ourselves through the wringer for imaginary worlds, right? 🙂 I’m sure your project will find it’s way in due time!
So good to know I’m not alone in this boat!