I have never participated in National Novel Writing Month. I have always been mid-manuscript when November the first rolled around and it is, after all, a busy month. This November is different. This November, I am writing a new novel.
I am a fairly prolific writer. I have discovered that if I am not working on projects of my own, I obsess over projects at work, driving myself and others up a wall with nit-picky edits and compulsive sentence restructuring. What, exactly, do you mean by small revision? This entire paragraph, the one that has worked perfectly for five years, has a fragment. I think we need to re-write the whole manual.
Did I mention I can be compulsive? That is another blog post all together.
When I launch a new project, I try to do something that is a stretch for me. This time, I am drawing from people I actually knew and I am writing in third person.
Because I generally write in a stream of consciousness, writing in first person works really well. (Yes, my friends, I am a “pantser.”) I have discovered that writing in third person is, actually, as challenging for me as I thought it might be.
At the end of every writing session I have to go back and search for places where I slipped into first person. This has proved interesting because it is often the places that flowed easily as I wrote—the times when I was most connected to the character.
Just to make it a really formidable task to finish a novel in thirty days, I also challenged myself to lower the age level of the audience and create a POV character that is male.
Here’s what I like: I love the fact that I can pull away. In first person, you are stuck in the head of your POV character. If she is sleeping, she is, well, sleeping. She has to find out what happened overnight from other people. I enjoy the fact that I can give a broader world view without using dialog to do it, and that there is a better opportunity to explore the lives of the characters who interact with my POV character.
Here’s what drives me a little crazy: The distance. One of the best things about first person is the ease of expressing feeling in a POV character. Third person is just a little bit more challenging, at least for me. I miss the intimacy of the first person narrative.
I have now avoided working on said NaNoWriMo novel for a couple of hours as I put this together and messed around on the internet. I am now heading back into my middle grade world.
Write on, NaNoWriMo people!