Monday, June 05, 2017

Monday Meanderings

So ... that story has found a new way to bedevil me, and I haven't even started to write it yet.

For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you may know the tale I'm talking about.  For anyone else, here's the two-bit summary:

I have what was intended to be a very brief short story about a character who has been selected for an important position.  The pivot of the tale is her discovery of the cost involved.  I initially was dithering how to lay out the reveal and the resolution.  I'm now leaning towards an open-ended story, but to minimize the sense that the tale isn't finished, I'm introducing two other characters in the same boat with her.  Their storylines will resolve, even if the main story is left hanging.

So what's the problem now?  Hang onto your hats ...

Point of view.  I was originally going to write in third person, because the fact that there was only one character already creates a tight focus on her, and (on a non-story-related point) both the novel I'm currently editing and the one I'm currently writing are in first person, so I'm in first-person overload right now.

But now, with two other characters, that dynamic feels like it changes.  Adding them makes her less important, in a third person context, even though her inner thoughts will still be the only ones portrayed.  And this is a story about the character, not about the central idea.  First person would also allow me to use just a touch of the unreliable narrator effect:  this is what the character thinks about herself, but is that true from the evidence she's presented?  The character's personal beliefs and attitude will play strongly into the choice she makes.  The more evidence I give the reader to decide which way she might jump, the better ...

Besides "I'm overloaded with first person," (to which my mental response is kind of, "Well, suck it up, writer.") the main argument to NOT use first person seems to be that to write a deliberately open-ended story in first person feels a bit unfair / gimmicky.  The idea that a first person narrative is an individual telling their story to someone else / the reader is implicit, and ... can a storyteller deliberately omit the ending?  In this case, if the story *were* being told to another person (and I'm not planning on making that frame explicit / direct), the choice she made would be obvious.

I suppose that's a way to resolve it:  "Well, you can see the choice I made."  Hmm ...


No comments: