May 10, 2006

The way I see it …

I know I said I won’t do it but I’ve started editing "Honest, the Martian Ate Your Dog" again :) It all started like this: I came across a crit group where the crits were individual. You select somebody that you think will suit your requirements as to what you’re looking for in a crit partner and you pair up with them. They crit your stuff and you crit theirs. If it doesn’t work out, you move on and find another partner and so on.

Except for Laurie going through the book several times, "Honest" has not had any full crits done on it. Yes, I’m already submitting the book to agents but I can’t but help feeling that perhaps there are things that could be improved upon :p So, I’ve been thinking of getting into a crit group but the biggest issue with that is time. I don’t have enough time to devote to a full crit group where you’d be critting the works of several others in return for them critting your work. However, a one-on-one crit is much more manageable for me in terms of time. Besides, the person I picked turned out to have just as many time constraints as I do :p So we both know that the crits will not be lightning-fast but that they will get there.

We’ve exchanged our first chapters and critted them and I like what I’ve read as well as the crit I’ve received so far. It has been very helpful in pointing out an area that I’ve always had trouble with – point of view (POV). When I write, I simply write. I don’t worry about head-hopping, about switching POV in mid-scene etc. This worked fine for non-fiction where I didn’t have to worry about this kind of stuff but when you’re writing fiction, this is something that you have to be very careful about :p

I do think that I managed to get the POV stuff under control by my second or third edit – whichever the last one was. But it still wasn’t perfect. The problem has been the fact that I’m confused as to how POV works :p I think that if it is third-person limited POV, then everything has to be described through the POV character’s eyes. You can’t state anything that is supposition as fact. While strictly speaking this might be true, it tends to lead to rather lengthy sentences with "appeared to", "seemed to" or "as if" being included in them a lot :)

So I went back to basics. I took up a few Pratchetts – I consider him to be my virtual guru. Besides, my style is pretty similar to his and so it made sense to look at his books for POV advice :) After reading a few excerpts from "Small Gods", "Night Watch" and "Going Postal", I had a much clearer view of how I should handle point of view :p Of course, PTerry does do some head hopping in "Small Gods" and that is supposed to be a no-no but then again, he’s a master! Me, I’m still not published and so I don’t think I should become that ambitious. But I did go ahead and dropped the "seemed", "appeared" and so on from my narrative and it actually seems to read much better :p

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Tags: Writing
Posted by Fahim at 7:01 am   Comments (0)