Problems with Perspective

April 15, 2015

 

Who tells the story? 

 

I’m struggling with this concept right now with Invisibles, the sequel to Being Human.  In the first draft, the story is written in third person, but with a lens more focussed on Bean.  Since the first story was written from Alek’s perspective, several readers suggested - nay, demanded! - that the sequel must take place from Bean’s point of view.  I’m having trouble with this idea, first, because even though I know Bean, I’m not sure I know her writing style yet.  There is a journal entry that Alek reads in Being Human that gives us an idea of her writing, but I’m torn.  I don’t know that she would describe nearly as much as the present narrator does.  If I write from Bean’s viewpoint, I am limited to what she sees and experiences, and there are definitely written scenes that don’t include her.  Right now I feel that there is too much "me" in the writing for it to be from Bean's viewpoint. 

 

Do I rewrite those scenes as Alek recounting what happened that she missed? Do I keep them separate and in the third person omniscient?  Do I cheat, and write some chapters from a different point of view? And is that really cheating? There are so many stories now that go back and forth between characters, first visiting the mind of one in one chapter, and then another in the next.  

 

Whose story is it to tell? 

 

There is a very interesting chapter in a book about fiction writing that my good friend Alana gave me.  I remember the author showing from examples of classic writers' works that even when a writer is telling a story from a single character's perspective, there is almost a double voice in which the narrator's voice bleeds into the character.  It's inevitable, but it can also be very effective.  

 

I think I need to go back and reread that chapter. Ugh.

 

I look back on some of my writing and I definitely use voice differently depending on who is supposedly narrating the story.  I'm stuck.  I'm afraid to look at the draft.  It's printed out and sitting here beside me, but I'm terrified at the thought of actually taking it out of my bag and getting to work on it. 

 

Hmmm. . . so much for addicted to editing.

 

 

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