Update: Nope, not finished with the book. In fact, still hanging between New Orleans and Texas. My excuse? Estrella War, illness, World of Warcraft… Yes, I’m so close I should just finish the thing! Easy. No problemo. Just need to do it.
So, one of the members of the Romance Writers of America group I belong to emailed out a top ten mistakes newbies make and yeah – I’m on that list. One I have issue with (along with the ban on using the To Be verb and Adverbs…) Here’s the blurb:
“(8) Putting thoughts into 1st person when you’re writing in 3rd person. Here’s what I mean: “Charlie watched the scraggly teen helping the blonde load the bags into her car. I don’t know why I feel this dread at the pit of my stomach, he thought. Maybe I should get a little closer so I can keep my eye on the kid.”
The revised version: “Charlie watched the scraggly teen helping the blonde load the bags into her car. He couldn’t figure out why this gave him such a feeling of dread. Maybe it would be a good idea if he got out of his car. Just to keep an eye on the kid.” —Works better, doesn’t it?”
Okay so here we are writing in Third-Person Deep Point of View – ‘deep’ meaning that we are experiencing the story through the eyes of the hero, feeling what they feel, seeing what they see, and persumably thinking what they think. One is supposed to flavor the writing with how the character views the world – generally known as a three-dimensional characterization. So if one’s character would say,
“No, Frank, I don’t think so,” George said, anger making his voice deepen.
Why can he not think, No Frank, I don’t think so. Feckin’ jerkwad.?
(Don’t third person POV characters get to have personal thoughts?)
Instead we’re instructed to change it to something like:
‘A brief flash of anger shot through George’s chest. He did not agree with Frank at all.’
It just seems to be “telling” instead of “showing” (which is an omni-present mantra for all writing genres.)
So yeah, I’m writing in third person because I want to have a little distance from George. I want to watch what George sees not from his own skewed view, but from right over his shoulder – that way I can see the periphrials. I can see Frank’s henchman sneaking up behind our boy George in Third Person where I couldn’t see him in first person, because as First Person George (band name anyone?) I’d be too concerned about wanting to beat Frank’s face in to notice my surroundings. Too wrapped up in my ID/EGO to notice that two-by-four decending on my noggin from left field.
So George thinks in first person, even though we’re watching him from third person. Hell, George thinks and talks in To Be verbs and uses adverbs too. Because that’s who he is.
Yeah – I’ll get over it soon and go on to produce wildly (or is that wild?) successful genre books with at least a month-long shelf-life.