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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

Point of view is giving me panic attacks.

I'm terrified of third person omniscient. I've spent so many years training myself to calculate every POV shift, to stay very carefully in a character's head and cling very tightly to that perspective and never give anything away that they don't see or notice.

And it's hard. I mean really hard, to keep the transitions smooth, to avoid head-hopping and that splintering, whiplash sensation, to learn a whole new skill in a skill-set I had fooled myself that I had more or less mastered....

But it's interesting, too, although I'm still learning what it's useful for.

And now I'm writing this:



A Kelpie who was not named Whiskey watched as the poet who wasn't named Thomas knelt by the grave of a Prince of Faerie, and didn't shed a tear. It wasn't precisely unmarked, that grave, bowered as it was by the overarching branches of weeping willows and cradled between their roots in a gnarled embrace. Thomas dug his inkstained fingertips into the greensward and uprooted a tuft of grass, turning it over and over in his hands. Two waxy grubs shone among the grassroots. He touched one idly and closed his eyes to feel it writhe against his skin.

"Your Queen's mother is a mortal woman," he said, some time later. Kelpie had not moved from his place beneath the tree.

"Our Queen's mother is a Mage," the Kelpie answered. "High up in the counsels of their Promethean Society, so-called, who were the other side of this war-- You've heard of the Prometheans, Sir Thomas?" The sudden lift of the bard's chin revealed as much, even before the Kelpie asked.

"Known with some intimacy," the bard replied, in a tone that suggested it hadn't been a pleasant knowing. He turned the green grass in his hands, careful not to shake the grubs loose, and tucked it back into the wound he made in the turf over the grave. He scrubbed earth-stained fingers on his trousers, and then rubbed them across his face. "What is her name, this Maga?"

"Jane Andraste, Sir Thomas." The Kelpie didn't mind saying. Didn't mind at all, when he felt the wind blow across his ribs and lift his mane, and smelled the sunlight of Faerie on it.

"I'm only a knight in Faerie," the bard said, standing, and tugging his cloak about him as if the warm air carried a chill. "That honor was never conferred on me in all my service to mortal queens." When he angled his head just so in the sunlight, it caught more coppery sparks from his sand-colored hair, and his right eye was brighter than his left.




About 150 words on Whiskey & Water today. Nothing on One-Eyed Jack. I plan to spend the rest of the week playing computer games.

Nobody tell my agent. *g*

Comments

I grew up writing everything in either omni or first...what being forced to learn to write in limited third did for me was teach me to focus on tighter transitions.

But going back to omni after fifteen or twenty books done in tight third was, oh, like busting one's corset stays and breathing deep for the first time in years!

In other words, cut free! You can always edit, but one thing ahead of the game: know who your narrator is, and what their agenda is, as well as their voice.
My natural voice has always been third person limited, although my default POV is not the character but an invisible telepathic camera hanging over his left shoulder. Over the years I've learned to limit it down, and write in tight third and first person (and I'm actually pretty good at first person, apparently--at least, I sell it okay)--so this is, for me, moving into a totally alien environment.

I don't like it very much. It makes me feel seasick. But I'm trying to learn.
<lj user="sartorias> speaks wisely. I have hardly the experience she does with omniscient, but after writing it almost exclusively for the past 4-5 years, her advice is exactly on. Also, be prepared for the narrator to change, and have to go back and revise to date when it happens. The thing that gets me with omniscient isn't the transitions themselves, but how to pace them &mdash; figuring out when it's time to switch, or pull out, or pull in, and when it ISN'T time to. ---L.
Curious (and surprised that this only just occurred to me)--any connection between the title of One-Eyed Jack and the show Twin Peaks, or just a coincidence?
The one-eyed Jacks are the Jack of Spades and the Jack of Hearts. *g* They're wild cards in certain variants of poker.
Ah, well that would explain the use in Twin Peaks, too, then. There's a casino that figures rather prominently in the show, named One Eyed Jack's.
There's also the Suicide King, who's the King of Hearts (He looks like he's stuck his sword through his head), and the man with the axe, who is the King of Diamonds.

Isn't poker fun?
Oh my, Bear. I do like your fantasy writing. All I've ever seen is Worldwired, which I loved, but this stuff... this is wonderful. Please publish. :D

Strangely, the writing reminds me a lot of Neil Gaiman. Sort of Stardust-ish, but yours is a more provocative beginning than Stardust.

I like it a lot. Would buy first day out.

:D
If I can sell it, I certainly will.... And thank you!
Nobody tell my agent. *g*

Okaaaaay... I won't. :-P
On the other hand, she might breathe a sigh of relief at a break in the flow of manuscripts....
A break in the flow of manuscripts? What's that? Oh, you meant just in the ones from you.... Hmm, guess that would finally leave me some time to read non-client submissions. Heh.
*sharpens up Jenn's red pencils, just in case*
I like the excerpt a lot--mmm, hints of angst!
*g* Thanks! We try....
OK, correct me if I'm wrong, but I've met not-Thomas before, haven't I?

Oh, and I wanna read mo-ore! And I don't think you should worry about your 3POmni. It looks good to me.
*g* Pooossible....

And thanks. It's not so much worry as hard damned work.
I started out writing everything in third person omniscient, because what I was reading around the time I realized I was a writer was The Hitchhiker's Guide.

I don't think I have a default POV anymore, at least for short fiction. I make that decision on a story-by-story basis. I suspect I'm still less likely to write a novel in first person than in some variant of third, though.

What's hard about omniscient for me, nowadays, is that sometimes one character's thoughts will be the only thoughts that interest me for the duration of, say, an entire scene. And then my trusted readers & workshop buddies will comment that I've "lapsed" from omniscient into limited -- when what I think I've done is omitted the stuff that's not as important to that particular scene. I'm still learning how fine is the line between POV glitches and authorial discretion.
Thanks for the moral suppor, Chelsea. Jackie needs to be a little more forthcoming if he wants to be famous someday....

I seem to have a hard time writing books that are very much alike, you know? *g*