Friday, 25 May 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo day -7: Inside my character's head

Camp NaNo 2012. Scared... but doing it anyway.

So, I have this story. It used to be a trilogy, but then I somehow found the plot for a fourth book that answers a lot of questions about MMC Toby. You see, I dumped him into the first story already broken and not quite interested enough in life to want to seek revenge for the events that had changed his life. I went on from there and never really looked at the events that had broken him.
Now it's time to change that and head into my character's past. For reasons that make no sense even to me, I intend this to be Book Three of a four-book series.

When I get around to it, I'm going to make a gold-plated cover image for the series, too. Well, who wouldn't want a gold-plated boxed set of her novels? Maybe one day I'll even be famous enough to release a reasonable facsimile of one.

But anyway, my no-longer-a-trilogy series isn't the problem. The problem is that I don't know whether to write it in first-person or third-person. The three completed stories are in third, but during May I started rewriting Book One in first-person. It's working really well. I've rewritten nearly 30k and I've only slipped once, writing a scene with the bad guys in it that my MC couldn't possibly have known about, let alone actually witnessed. Other than that it works. Toby is by turns bleak, humorous, loving and cranky. He has a voice that feels distinctly different to any of my third-person writing, including the previous draft of his own story. In short, if I was ever going to write in first-person, Toby is the perfect character for me to use.

But... this is only Book One. Two and Three (well... I guess it's Four now) are different. They have more scenes without the MC and translating them into a single POV is going to be quite a challenge. I imagined having time to work on that before I started this new story, so that by the time I started writing I'd have a firm grasp on exactly how the series was going to be laid out.

No, really. At some point this month, I actually entertained that illusion. I think that was when I was going to write Book Three some time in early 2013. Things like that never seem to go the way I planned, though. I had a rewrite of a completely different story planned, only to have it fall apart on me after the first week. Then Toby struck while I was at my most vulnerable (that is, in the middle of a massive crisis of confidence) and here we are.

Camp NaNoWriMo: weaving Doom from Darkness, Despair and Desolation.

Er... those are the series titles. Darkness, Despair, Doom, and Desolation. I used to call it the Seeker trilogy. That went well - last time I ever name anything a trilogy. Now, off to make myself that gold-plated book cover...


  1. Based on what you've said in several places, I get the feeling that the story really comes alive when Toby tells it. I also get the feeling that the story is really about the character development that is happening inside Toby's head, and the suffering he goes through personally. Maybe your Muse is trying to tell you to write this in first person...

    At least, maybe the reader doesn't need to know what the villains are up to. After all, it seems to me that the tension and conflict in the story come from the negative effect that events have on Toby. In that case, the important bits would occur not 'outside' Toby's POV, but during the moments when Toby was with the villains, and would be able to describe what was happening to him. It seems that, given Toby's unique voice, and that odd combination of tenacious optimism coated with buckets of despair, that he's quite good at creating tension himself, just by the way he talks about things. At least, from what I've seen, you seem to be talking a lot more about the things that happen to Toby, and how they'll affect him, whereas the POV of the villains, by comparison, almost a footnote.

    Of course...I might be wrong...>.> Just a guess, though.

  2. 'that odd combination of tenacious optimism coated with buckets of despair...'

    I seriously <3 that. Toby in a nutshell.

  3. [...] Anyway, I talked about Doom back on day -7, so I’m not going to repeat myself. I’ll just say that going far enough back in time that main character Toby Moonstone is ten years old and bent of avenging the deaths of his parents… well, it’s definitely interesting. I really have to know this story before I can do anything about the other three. [...]