Writing

Novel Update #5: On Points of View

What Dreams Update:

I’m at 13,590 words, and the outline board looks the same. The real takeaway from this month is that moods change, and it helps to get to know yours. I spent most of the month hating this novel and every word I’d written of it, I think we all have moments when you hate your novel, but that happens and passes. When I reread all the work I’ve done this year, I loved it, and I was also in a much better place to identify problems and weaknesses after having spent a few weeks picking it apart and hating it. I’ve got high hopes for August, since I won’t be in class!

Points of View:

I finished those scene edits that were driving me nuts! I’m not going to edit anything more right now, but in my post-hate lucidity, I identified some  scenes where I’ll need to change the POV in the second draft.

The POV has been a problem from the beginning, and a screwed-up POV is why I decided to scrap the 20,000 or so words I’d written (long time ago now) and start again this year. Basically, the narrator is a character in the story, but he won’t appear as a character until later in the book, somewhere in the third section. Even then, it’s not so much an “unreliable narrator” story as just a multiple-POV story. I intend to layer more of that narrator character over it in later drafts, but in essence it’s a third-person narrative on which he often comments. The third-person narrative switches POVs depending on who’s in the scene.

character map

I don’t have that many characters, but I always feel like I’m forgetting someone… I doodle these char maps a lot, and will be saving this one instead of just making new ones over and over.

The protagonist, Dr. Skuyler, has an apprentice, Dice Jonie. My default, and the bane of my existence, is to keep lapsing into Dice’s POV. It’s easier than doing Skuyler’s or anyone else’s because she’s substantially younger, without an enormous backstory, and she’s also a newcomer to that enormous backstory everyone else has. So, I can keep secrets from her and I can have people explain things to her, depending on my needs. The problem is that it’s easy so I keep doing it. It’s not the best thing for the story — in fact, it brings the story down and makes it boring. Dice is an important peripheral character, but it’s not her story to tell.

Soooo… later on I’ll redo some scenes again to change the POV. I’ve mentioned before that I freaking hate rewriting whole scenes, but it’s really not a drastic change, and I am kind of excited about it because this whole project has always been about Skuyler, and I’m glad to get to write him instead of just writing about him. I think y’all will like it a lot better too in the end!

Supplemental Viewing:

Metropolis (1927)

No, it has nothing to do with Superman… Metropolis is one of the earliest science fiction movies, a  black-and-white spectacle of a silent film made in Weimar Germany. It used then-revolutionary special effects and a remarkably complex structure to tell a story about a futuristic city that’s split in two — the workers in the mine city below, and the elite spenders in the metropolis above. There’s a lot of talk about the Tower of Babel, and also androids. Through censorship and re-edited releases much of the movie has been lost, but over two hours remains. It’s on YouTube, and I had the choice of a two-and-a-half-hour version with German title cards, or a two-hour version with English title cards. I chose the two-hour version. This is a cool little cultural artifact (haha, actually it’s really long) and I recommend it for all sci-fi nerds.

Skuyler and Dice spend a while talking about Le Voyage Dans la Lune when they first meet, and in general terms, I just tend to write about genres themselves. For that, you have to actually be conversant with the genre. I always call it space opera and I need to read more of the classic pulp stories and the recent sci-fi that’s been coming out, but this really old stuff just fits. It’s the kind of thing the characters would relate to, and I can’t really put into words why. Eventually I’ll be able to do it!

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8 thoughts on “Novel Update #5: On Points of View

  1. Sometimes it’s hard not to go back and re-edit a scene while doing a first draft, especially if you dislike it right away.
    Sounds like an interesting POV. Usually I just write third-person, only entering the thoughts and perspective of a small list of main characters.

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    1. Well, if I dislike it right away I usually rewrite it or go back and change it. I just know I’m prone to fiddling around with a very small set of scenes, getting stuck and never actually progressing. I have to kind of write in a spiral, there’s a certain point where without the rest of the story, I can’t know what’s best for the scenes I’ve already written. Other people have different methods!

      Honestly I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew with the POV, but I’m gonna make it work! 🙂

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  2. I absolutely love Metropolis. I have seen the fully restored version and fell in love with it the first time.

    I am with you on the whole POV thing. I’ve had stories that I had to fully scrap and rewrite because the POV character wasn’t who I thought it should be. The story has a mind of its own and knows what it wants.

    Keep moving forward and listening to the story. You will do well.

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    1. I want to see the long German version now that I don’t need the title cards!

      The POV definitely changes the entire story. I forget how much until I go back and look at it. Thanks for the encouragement!

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