I’m toying with the idea of scrapping my whole novel and starting from scratch with the same story, same characters, and a whole new perspective. My writing class covered point of view last week and I’ve been dedicating some serious thought to giving a different perspective a try.
Granted, the idea of re-writing my 250+ page novel makes me want to cry just a little, but the more I go back and re-read it the more dissatisfied I become. I’m not the kind of writer who normally feels dissatisfied with her work. I’ll go back to old blog posts and most of the time I’m surprised I actually wrote them because I like them so much (I know, I’ve got the modesty thing down to a science).
With all the new skills I’m learning though, I’m slowly realizing how much better my novel could be. Whereas before I would read it over and think to myself how good it was and how well I detailed the characters, I now read it over and realize that my characters have no faces and my story has a plot that’s neither well-developed nor resolved.
Normally, this would probably make me toss the whole thing out and start over but I’m still in love with this story and want to tell it. I just now realize that I can do it so much better. The trick, I think, is going to be to tell the story from a 3rd person instead of a 1st person perspective.
My whole novel as it stands is written in present tense 1st person, which means my sentences are always happening right this second. For example: I’m writing my blog when Wes walks in and gives me a hug.
What I think would be a lot better would be 3rd person omniscient. For example: She sat at the computer, face scrunched in concentration, typing madly to the sounds of Beethoven when Wes walked in and interrupted her with a hug.
I can give my characters faces, personality quirks, and a deeper depth of character with 3rd person than if I’m shackled to the perspective of one person who’s only in one place at one time. Also, 1st person present tense gets a bit tiring to read (and write!) after a while.
Apparently, I’m in good company in writing my first novel in 1st person. According to my good friend Working Girl, most first novels are written in 1st person. The woman who teaches my writing class says that most publishing houses won’t even take a look at novels written in 1st person since they practically scream AMATEUR AUTHOR!
The last thing I want is to be that obvious about my amateur status, so I think I’ll give a different perspective a try. I’m sure there are plenty of authors who can make 1st person look good but I’m not yet arrogant enough to assume I’m one of them. The great thing about having already written a rough draft is that I have an excellent grasp of my story and my characters so I have the feeling the second draft is going to just pour out of me.
Now, the dilemma is: Will I have time to revise my novel before next NaNoWriMo? I’m so busy lately I really question whether I’ll carve out the time to do this until I’m forced to do it by a voluntary deadline. If I do have to wait until November, at least I’ll know what I’m writing about ahead of time!