Tuesday, November 5, 2013

More experimentations.

Love the digital -- I can just spin off a completed manuscript and experiment with it all I want without fear of ruining the original story.

As I mentioned before, I did a Director's Cut of Faerylander the other day, putting back everything I'd taken out in trying to streamline the book.

First of all -- it wasn't as bad as I thought I might be.
Secondly -- even if I stick with the more polished version, I realized that there were two chapters from the extended version that probably should be brought back -- maybe three chapters.
Third -- I could see the overall architecture and flow of the story by having it all laid out in front of me.
Fourth -- I liked lots of the little details that I had cut -- most of them were character development and world building and really didn't slow down the story as much as I thought.

So what I may end up with a hybrid of the cut version and the Director's Cut. 

Yesterday, I decided to see what would happen if I turned Cobb, the main protagonist, back into a first person narrator, and kept all the secondary characters as third person.

The book had started off that way, but I'd been unsatisfied and changed it.

Once I started changing it to first person again, I immediately started struggling with the tenses.  It isn't a simple matter of changing "he" to "I".

All right, then -- I thought -- I'll just turn all the tenses into present tense.

Damned if that didn't work.  Almost like it was meant to be that way.  It cleared up all the problems.

Then I tried something really weird -- I turned all the third person narrative in present tense -- and damned if that didn't work even better.

So I'm thinking -- first person, present tense.  Does anyone do that?

Turns out -- lots and lots of young adult novels do.  Hunger Games, for instance.  So too with mainstream novels, Water for Elephants and Wolf Hall, for instance. 

So it isn't too outrageous -- it's being done.

But the main thing -- to me it just reads better.  I've mentioned before that the story seems to go sideways -- not propelling the story forward.  For some reason that I don't understand, this seems to fix that.  Turns out my narrative approach works for that -- almost as if I'm writing in the moment anyway, I just didn't know it.

Maybe my narrative approach was affected by all my blog writing...:)

The only thing I don't know is if this approach works for an entire book and not just the first few chapters.

My seat of the pants test is -- even after all this time, and after this many repetitions -- can I keep reading and staying engaged.  If it passes that test, then I think I'll go with it.

I may keep some or none or all of these different changes. 

It doesn't hurt to experiment.  Turns out -- it gives me motivation to rewrite, and that's the real goal.

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