Friday, 16 April 2010
Thought I'd share a little something with you. And also share my state of mind at the moment. And while I'm at it, ask for a little advice.
My current WIP is told from the point of view of two sisters (and a third a little down the track too), in third person. I feel like I'm wasting precious time because every time I switch perspectives, I have to re-read a few of their chapters to get their voice back in my head.
I have all my chapters planned out so I know what's going to happen. You might think it would be easier to just write the parts of each sister separately, but, in fact, it's not at all. The reason for this is, that the end of every chapter marks one step closer to finding their father (whom they are searching for), and if I haven't written each step of the journey, and haven't felt what they are feeling, I can't develop their emotions effectively.
Any ideas on how I can get around this? (Also, any advice on how to avoid multiple personality disorder? LOL)
“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp
“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin
“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney
“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch
“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland
“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris
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Sorry I can't be of any use, writing a book is different from poetry writing.....well to me it is.ReplyDelete
I hope you find the answer you're looking for.
I was just at the DFW Writer's conference and author Candace Havens recommended leaving yourself a little note about the last place you left off so that you don't have to waste time re-reading when you're trying to pump out that first draft.ReplyDelete
I thought it was great advice. She recommended something very short that helps you remember what your characters are up to.
Good luck writing -- Hope that helps!!!
Multiple personality disorder? LOL. And here I thought I was the only one! I don't have that problem within the same MS, I have that problem when trying to write more than one thing at a time. I guess I don't have the problem with each MS voice because they are all so different and it's easy for me to switch from one to the other. Also, since I write romance, there's really only one guy and one girl I have to worry about.ReplyDelete
But, when I more from one book to another, I find myself getting the character voices mixed up. And then I just end up like, "S*** so-and-so wouldn't do this!" It's crazy.
So, I just quit working on more than one thing at a time. Hmmm....I guess that doesn't really help you, does it? I hope someone is better help than me!
I guess the only recommendation I could give is to just let the time be wasted. I mean, this story is important to you, right? So the time may be worth it.ReplyDelete
Or what you could do is find some of the most 'personality-full' lines from each sister, print them out, and post them by your computer, so instead of reading the entire chapters, you could just get into character by reading your favorite quotes from each sister?
You could also find a song for each sister that is similar to their personality, and listen to it before writing each sister's pov.
Hope I helped! :) Just some ideas. :D
Hey! Great question. I've never used multiple POVS, but maybe just keeping something like a notebook for each one with some "personality identifiers" in it - i.e. what songs they're listening to, what foods they like, favorite exclamations, quotes - and just your own notes on what makes each different. Great post - and I've left you an award on my blog :DReplyDelete
Thanks for your suggestions everyone! Bethany and Zoe, I think your ideas will work wonders. I actually hadn't thought of associating music to them. Great IDEA!ReplyDelete
I can't give advice on how to avoid multiple personality disorder, because all the voices in my head get along just fine with one another naturally.ReplyDelete
As far as the voices of the two sisters. It could be that you're having a hard time with each sister, because they are too similar. So you're having to read back to get a feel for what makes this one different exactly than the other, etc. It's just a thought though, all my stories so far have been in first person so I think it's easier to stay inside their head for me.
Hmm, that's a good point Tracy. I might have to check that out. You may have just prevented a semi-disaster. Thanks!ReplyDelete
How about writing all of one sister's part and then going back and writing all of the other sister?ReplyDelete
Won't work, Paula, because, each chapter alternates perspective and is like a cause and effect. For eg, end chapter - Kit finds lead; start next chapter - Kit tells Ivy lead and reacts to it. If I don't write it in order I won't feel their emotional transitions. Looks like this is going to be a tough first draft :)ReplyDelete
Kay so I've been seeing your comments on a ton of the blogs I follow, so I decided to check yours out. The book that I'm currently shopping around to agents was written from two different perspectives; that of a mother and a daughter. I had a very solid idea of who each of them was, their needs and motivations and what had happened in their past to mold them. I'm wondering if you did a really extensive character workup on each of them, then maybe you could just do a quick scan of whichever character's workup whose voice your going to be writing in that day, rather than having to go back chapters in your WIP to get back in that character's voice. Hope that ridiculously long sentence made sense. Good luck!ReplyDelete
Thanks for stopping by! :) That sounds like a great idea. In fact I had already written them before I started writing the ms, but as you probably already know, things change as you go. So I guess I'm just going to have to update my brain. Perhaps once I get further into the ms, my brain will be properly wired to my characters and I won't have to do so much rereading. I think my best bet right now is to print out a scene from each sister that gives specific clues to personality and hang them up on my pin board.
Don't think you can do too much about it. If you have to go sequentially, you have to go sequentially, and if you need to waste time, you wouldn't be doing anyone a favour by neglecting to do that.ReplyDelete
The way I may get around it is by being either character for a day, and figuring out one thing that defines them (could be a song, or a pet expression, or a book, or anything).After that, you just think of that one thing, and you should get into the right frame of mind.
Hmm, in this case I think the only thing to do is go through. You can't get around something like this or, like you said, it won't be right. So just keep going through it and you'll get there!ReplyDelete
I have the MPD when it comes to writing my characters. Most of the time when I write I think about someone I know who's similar to that character and I stick him or her in that place so I can hear who's talking. Other times I invision it as a movie and who I would cast in that role. It's crazy but it works for me. In the end it's still me in there but each character has a personality and life of his own.ReplyDelete
I use multiple PoVs all the time, but usually they are more different than siblings may be (well my first book had sisters, but one was 15 and the other 5, so they were easy to keep straight.) I have two thoughts: I would absolutely just create a separate document with a page of the kinds of self talk things, likes and dislikes each has, so you have a cheat sheet to look at. Maybe then include what she was thinking each time as you end a scene--just a one line frame of mind. The other idea is totally arbitrary, but you're musical... might each girl have a SONG or a music style that puts you in her head... something that would be the way she thinks. Maybe one likes classic rock and the other is a hip hop girl... maybe playing the right kind of background music would help.ReplyDelete
Geez. That sounds like a tough one. I don't have any advice. I'd never think to write a book like that, probably for the same reasons I gawk at word cross and sudoku puzzles. I was born of little patience and if I try work my brain out, I get a head ache. Or it could just be laziness....ReplyDelete
Wow! I don't even know where to start with that one. Glad you are finding some humor amidst the frustration. Hope you can avoid a fractured personality! :)ReplyDelete
If you can't write all the chapters for each one separately, maybe just rereading the last page or so of their pov. I usually do that with only 1 pov. Good luck!ReplyDelete
I have no clue on how to keep from developing multiple personalities... So sorry. :DReplyDelete
As for your writing, you said the end of each chapter (or sister's story) brings them one step closer to their father, is emotionally charged and difficult to switch back and forth.
Now, this might sound silly, but why not write all of one sister first and make notes for the end of each chapter, then move on to the other sister. Or write all the way to the end of the chapter and just do one sister at a time. It might prove to be a little easier, then you can tie everything together when you revise/edit.
My first novel I ever wrote, I combined several short stories (each a chapter) focusing on the same plot. It worked rather well, but that was me. I was afraid to write a full length novel at the time. *snorts*
Hope this helps. Its just going to be a matter of juggling things, working what suits you best. Good luck.
Wow, now I know why I write from one POV only. I have enough trouble with the voices in my head lol!ReplyDelete
I agree with all the posters about using music. It helps me get into the mood of the characters in seconds. And even now, when I hear a song that was on my (now completed) book's playlist, it takes me back immediately to that section of the book. Keep the music different for each sister if you can - like slow ballads for one and hard rock for another, or different eras like 80s for one sister, and the 00s for another (or whatever we're going to call the 2000s). I listen to lyrics to capture the mood of the section I'm writing too for a complete immersion. Hope this helps!ReplyDelete
Oh ... that is what happens in The Last Song but I think re-reading is inevidale.ReplyDelete
I know what a struggle it is to juggle multiple POVs in a novel. I think Tracy is on to something though. If you're struggling to keep the voices straight in your mind, then you might want to revisit the uniqueness of your individual characters. Each character should have a distinct voice in your head, not only for dialogue but for the narrative that goes along with each section.ReplyDelete
I find, too, that it's helpful to have something to associate with each character and their voice. It might sound weird, but it's often a color or a shape that I connect to their unique "voice."
Thanks for all your words of wisdom everybody! I'll definitely be implementing a lot of them! :)ReplyDelete
I was directed towards yWriter software, by a published author, when I got in a ms muddle. It is free too, so an added bonus.I have never looked back. It has storage areas for everything connected to individual characters.ReplyDelete
It has made my work flow much faster.
Mmmmm...this is a head scratcher for sure! I kind of have the same problem, I have 2 protagonists and 2 antagonists that eventually meet in the last 3 chapters but if I had to reread chapters to get a feel for them before writing, I would be driven mad. I think you should just come up with a logline for each sister...Such as sister A wants to find her father but has to overcome such & such along with 3 adjectives that describe Sister A. Maybe even use one of Sister A's paragraphs that most authentically reveal her voice. And if you can't find any other way around it, just get a good therapist lined up. ;)ReplyDelete