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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Frustration! (Or If It Works for Nora…)

Those of you who follow my blog have heard me bemoaning this problem before but I’m still struggling with POV in my WIP. To recap the action thus far: I finished the first/second (I do a lot of editing as I go) draft of a mystery novel and I was quite pleased with it except for the size. At a whopping 150,000 words, I knew I had to do some serious trimming. While I was working on the trimming, I became aware - through various writer’s blogs and articles - that my preferred POV, third person omniscient, has fallen out of favor in the writing world and is only acceptable from mega-authors like Nora Roberts. Not feeling I was in a position to buck the system, I went back to the beginning and started eliminating all the in-scene POV shifts (head hopping).

In some scenes, it was easy. Removing incidental or even accidental POV shifts not only smoothed the flow but also allowed me to cut some unnecessary text, which helped with the overall trimming. But in some scenes, especially ones between my two central characters, I felt that forcing the scene into a single POV actually spoiled the flow. And I started to wonder if I was doing the right thing. What if this story actually works better in 3rd person omni?

After I had second guessed myself into a complete standstill, I decided to seek outside help. I e-mailed someone I’ve met via blog and e-mail - who knows current styles and whose opinion is obviously respected by the authors in the circle of blogs I’ve been following - and I asked her to read a scene, one of those I hadn’t been able to change, and give me her opinion. She was kind enough to do so. But she told me she liked the scene and it works as written. POV shift and all.

Now what do I do? As I see it, I have two options: Continue following popular opinion and remove all in-scene POV shifts, or eliminate all unnecessary POV shifts but keep ones in the scenes between the main characters which I think are important to the flow.

I don’t want to hurt my chances of getting accepted by an agent and/or publisher but neither do I want to destroy what I’ve written trying to make it fit into the proper box.

This whole thing is messing with my head!!!

Suggestions/opinions gratefully accepted.

Unwriting progress: From the original 150,000 words down to 117,548.  TOTALLY STALLED!


I'm currently enjoying: Reel Murder by Mary Kennedy

Quote of the day: I'm losing my mind!  Linda Leszczuk

6 comments:

Robert Guthrie said...

Trust your instincts on what's best for your story. First person narration may be the most popular choice today, but a novel gets published tomorrow. And "most popular" doesn't mean that there's no room for what's less popular.

Robert Guthrie said...

Trust your instincts on what's best for your story. First person narration may be the most popular choice today, but a novel gets published tomorrow. And "most popular" doesn't mean that there's no room for what's less popular.

Stephen Tremp said...

My editor helped identify lots of data dump and redundancies I never saw. So I took them out and found I didn;t lose anything from the integrity of the story. In fact, things moved faster, which is a good thing, since mt book is an action thriller.

Stephen Tremp

Linda Leszczuk said...

Robert and Stephen - Thank you both for your comments. I'm still wrestling with what to do on this. I guess I just have to pick a direction and hope for the best.

MaryC said...

Hi Linda,

I would do what you've been doing - go through and edit to one POV where it makes the story stronger, but trust your instinct for where you need to leave it. I just read an intro to a published book that had head-hopping in the first chapter and if memory serves, it was a first time author - certainly not Nora-level.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Mary,

Perfect timing on your comment. That's exactly what I decided to do. I'm either channeling Sammy Davis Jr. (I Gotta Be Me) or Old Blue Eyes (I Did It My Way), but at least I'm back to unwriting again.