I had my head down all last week – well, not so much ‘down’ as pointed at the computer screen – and finally came up for air on Friday afternoon, fuzzy-eyed and furry-brained. You see, I had a flash of inspiration (or whatever you like to call it) and it was followed by an intense bout of re-re-re-editing.
Now, I don’t do writing advice. I don’t think I’m in any position to offer it. In fact, I hardly even have a handle on how I write, let alone try to tell someone else how to do it. I do, however, often see other writers (some well known, some not) offering writing advice on the web, and I always read with a large dose of scepticism because what works for one person might not work for another. Also, I find it difficult to accomodate the idea that anyone can have such a firm grasp on what they’re doing. This is because when I write, I don’t have a clever method or a series of steps. Maybe I’d be better at it if I did. But no, I just sit down, turn on the computer and write until the story comes to an end. Then I look at it and change what doesn’t feel right. However, what I’m getting around to saying is that I’m going to offer some advice.
Yeah, I know; me.
So we go back to why I was so furiously re-re-re-editing. Well, I’ve been working on a book, written in the first person, about . . . well, I’m not going to tell you what it’s about – wait and see. Anyway, when I read it back, it just didn’t reel right. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I edited it but still it didn’t feel right. I re-edited but it still didn’t feel right, and I was several chapters into a frenzy of hack and slash when came the epiphany. I hit on the idea of changing it from first person to third. And guess what? It worked. Everything felt much better. Ahh, sigh of relief ‘n’ all that. (Except the sigh of relief was tainted with a feeling of ‘oh bloody hell, it’s gonna take me ages to do that’.) And that is why I spent all week transfixed, eyes locked to the screen, brain struggling to cope, letters blurring. But now it’s done.
So there you go. That’s my advice. If it’s not working, try changing the perspective. It could work for you. In my case it’s given me a very intense, tight third person view that works well. In your case it could be a masterpiece.