Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Benefits of Drafting in First Person

Playing around with Wordle and the first chapter of my revised manuscript of EVANGELINE. Looks like I need to do a search for "just" and see where I can use something else. Of course Evie is the most common word in the chapter now that I've switched it to third person, but I wonder if there's a way to reduce the number of times I use it. The whole manuscript would probably benefit from a chapter by chapter word cloud before I start querying again. See, Wordle isn't just for stalling. ;)

However, I did notice something quite interesting during this revision (yes, NaNoWriMo had become NaNoRevisMo around these parts, lol). Most of the prose and exposition sounds more natural being delivered by an invisible narrator than the main character-- to me, that is. Whether or not that's the truth is yet to be seen, but it's not the first time I've re-written a manuscript in a different tense.

I'm actually thinking that despite which perspective I wind up using, writing the first draft in first person was very helpful to me in getting deeper into the mc's head. When I draft in third person, I often feel there's something missing, or that I'm watching the main character from outside, rather than in their heads.

I actually began the novel before Evangeline in rotating first person with four female main charaters. Over the course of writing the novel, I decided to switch it to third, but by then I had already been privy to my character's secrets and desires, inside their head rather than a simpel on-looker. Finishing their stories in third made perfect sense at that point, and kept my novel from being unfavorably compared to an urban fantasy "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants". (Which also had four first person female povs, and even went to one of the exact same places as one of the Traveling Pants girls, as I found out too late. Grr...) And I know I was able to get a better feel for each character by starting off in first person, as if they were telling me their story in private.

My current WiP, Mara's Story, is the first novel where I didn't have to struggle to get into the main character's pov. So it will likely stay in first person, which I think is the only way to tell that particular story. Since it is a mystery, I like the limited point of view, and I enjoy the intimacy and tension that I used to show the main character's inner-struggles. I can't imagine this story NOT being told by Mara.

As for EVANGELINE, this month marks one year since I began it during NaNo 2008. I couldn't resist dusting it off and trying to breathe some new life into it once this year's NaNo story fizzled out before it got started. I'm also shamelessly soliciting for betas-- either to just read and give me your thoughts, or for a full-on critique-- after I get it cleaned up in the next week or so.

Anyone learning any other tips for writing first drafts? Especially those of you still cruising along on your NaNo without looking back. Any fun new tools for stalling-- er, I mean drafting that I don't know about?

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post on free mind map software!

No comments:

Post a Comment