Tinkering with Perspective

Am back to work for realz today—a short day, anyway. Mel is popping by for lunch, and Carl had an early shoot which means (hopefully) an early return home, but somewhere in between said events I’m hoping for a scrap of inner calm and a dollop of creativity.

At least I know what project I’m going to work on. One of the several major flaws with Execution is the first-person narrative structure—fantastic for parts of the novel (like the opener and ending), not so great for others (like when she’s in prison for well over a hundred pages… Or trying to explain what’s going on with characters she barely knows….).

I was worried my only choice was between first person and third, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and tossed the ideas around with my writerly brother, and we may have come up with a compromise: multi-character first person.

It worked for William Faulkner, Wilkie Collins, Jodi Picoult, and—still more recently—Kathryn Stockett. So there you go. A trendy solution to a common problem.

Am going to confine the majority of the narrative to my protagonist, Charlotte, as before. Going to let her open and close the book, but am also planning to include some sections from the detective’s notebook and the other female lead. Enough to round out the story without losing sight of the main dilemma.

With any luck, it will also help with the flat character thing the agent complained about. Our eyes create depth with the information from only two perspectives. Maybe the principle holds true in books too.

Wish me luck. The first task is just to figure out which perspective would be most effective for each section. And I think I may have some ideas for the detective’s voice/style, so I think that’s where I’ll start.

Could be the salvation of the book. Could be a phenomenal waste of time. In other words about par for the course in writing.

At least it’s a gray, moisty day out. A perfect day for coffee and books, right?


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