I go or she went – depends on your point of view

Posted: January 13, 2012 in process
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve discovered the secret of getting one’s youth back. You don’t believe me? Well, OK. Fine. But I think you’re probably desperate to know how my latest novel has been coming on in recent weeks. You are, aren’t you? So remember that youth thing and read on.

It’s confession time. I’ve reverted to my favourite way of writing – the present tense in the “I” form. It was working fine in the third person past tense. But it was not “me”, if you follow. That mode worked fine for dragon books for middle grade  (but see my post here about why Jervan, my third MG novel, is in the present) but it wan’t what I wanted for this YA book. It was missing punch, although I believe it has the plot and characterisation.

So 44,000 words in, I’ve started on a rewrite. Hence my bloggy silence. You see, it sounds pretentious, but if you say you’re a writer, you have to write, and that means deserting the blog occasionally to painstakingly work through my novel making it first person present.

The rewrite is in two stages that work parallel to each other. Firstly there’s the literal translation of it into the correct form, but at the same time, executed section by section, I’m carrying out what would normally be termed a second draft.

The reason for the dual rewrite is that there are some things you simply wouldn’t write in the first person version. It’s a different world out there where the narrator is the teen. I was already writing in a closed third person position but even so… it’s different. You have to try it to understand. But it’s definitely different.

Then there was the issue of whether, having stopped the flow of things for a while, I would ever get back into it, or end up with the equivalent of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.

After much thought, and discussion with my writerly daughter, I decided that I didn’t want to finish the last 16,000 words how it was, because I wanted to write the last portion of the book in the flow “as” my narrator in the present tense. I reckon it will be much more powerful that way. So it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Another concern was whether I would lose the habit after writing new material so consistently every morning for well over a month. But actually, I’ll have been living it all again by the time I get to that point, 44,000 words in, so it isn’t going to be an issue. It’s more a mental thing – it feels good to report increasing word counts, whereas this is less obviously progress. Well, as the teens themselves say: get over it.

And the good thing is, I’m dead excited about how it’s going. I am the heroine in a way I wasn’t before. Yay! The foolproof way to get one’s golden years back. I told you so, didn’t I?

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