Monday, March 13, 2017

You'd think I'd know by now

I work on this series once a year, usually at the first of the year. These are characters who have been with me for 6 books now, and I feel like I know them well.

As I've noted before, I have three distinct POVs going in this series: his, hers, and one that alternates between a different his/hers. Chapter 1 is hers, chapter 2 is his, chapter 3 is his/hers. I would love to write this consecutively (1, 2, 3) but I've reminded myself that I can't and still keep the distinct voices needed. I need to write Chapter 1, Chapter 4, Chapter 7, etc., in order to stay true to voice, and that means I need to jump forward and back in the plot in order to do that.

Okay, I re-discovered that one.

Here's the other thing I've re-discovered. It's not what I want to have happen. It's what is happening. By this I mean: I want these people to have a nice life and happy times and get along all the time and just hit the occasional bump.

But that's not what's happening in this world. Not everybody supports them. Some people want to kill them. They don't know who their friends are.

It's not what you want the story to be. It's what the story is. I wrote this on a slip of paper and have it taped to my computer.

Once I remembered, I knew I didn't have to look for conflict, I didn't have to invent worries, and I had more than enough to propel me forward.

But my question is: don't you think I'd know this by now?



Leah St. James said...

JL, I don't think I could go forward and back in time like that. For one thing, I change too many things as I progress through the story. I'd have too much to fix! And I'd drive myself crazy. Good luck keeping it all together! Sounds like you have a solid story though to work from, and that's a big plus.

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I love how we all have our own writing styles. I change pov's with every chapter and sometimes within the chapter, but only once. I'm a very lineal writer, building on what I write. If an editor makes me change or take out a chapter that means minor changes in the previous chapters. Everything builds on what went before...except for my mind. It went a long time ago.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Since I'm a pantser, I buy the mystical element of writing you're alluding to: the author needs to give the characters their heads and go with the flow (it's what the story is), but I'm not a lover of conflict in real life, so my natural intention is to make everyone happy sooner than I should for a page-turner. So, alas, I do have to look for conflict and invent worries. I'm glad you don't have to push to conflict like I do!

Brenda Whiteside said...

A chuckle. I'm thinking yes, JL, you should know that by now. But maybe relearning it each time is what keeps your story fresh. Who knows. I'm on the 5th book of a series and I've had a bit of a style change. It started in my last book. Normally, I put a scene change break, which for TWRP is **** when the POV changes in a chapter. But there were a couple of times in my last book that my editor said it was such a smooth transition and I hadn't actually changed the scene that she had me leave them out. Since I was allowed to do it then, it's become second nature in this book. I do make sure I stay in one POV for a page or better before the switch, but it's made it much easier to tell the story. I see it all the time in the "big writer" books. Let's hope the readers accept it in mine.

Diane Burton said...

OMG, I could have written parts of each comment. Whether you should know this already, JL, I don't know. I "relearn" new things all the time. Rather, the light bulb goes on and I have a "duh" moment. I'm too linear to write like you, but you have to do what works for you. Good luck!

Jannine Gallant said...

I'm also too linear (and don't have the story plotted well enough) to skip chapters. But I don't think I've ever had a problem staying "in voice." To each her own should be the writer's motto!

Margo Hoornstra said...

I love that quote about what the story is. Should you know this by now? Maybe. Unless you view writing as a learning experience. And, If only I could be a linear writer, a wish that continues to elude me.

J L said...

Thanks, all -- it truly is a unique experience for each author, isn't it?

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, well, I have to be reminded of many things, over and over. So, you may 'know' it, but you don't always think about it or accept it. :) Yes, conflict is good!