Monday, June 13, 2011

We're back.

As of today, I am returning to my daily writing. I had a hell of a long absence, in which I did almost nothing but think about writing and write and erase a bunch of stuff. Ultimately, I decided that the biggest problem with my stories thus far has been a lack of narrative intimacy. I went back and re-read quite a few fantasy novels that I especially enjoyed - The Belgariad, Gardens of the Moon, and about the first half of The Eye of the World, namely. And I passed a kidney stone. But that's kind of irrelevant. What's relevant is that all of those authors had varying degrees of narrative distance, but the more modern you get, the more intimate stories feel. I think that ultimately has to do with a shift away from the Tolkienesque, fatherly narrator, who describes the actions and feelings of his characters, but never inhabits them, and shifts PoV at will. According to one book I read, nowadays, the rule of thumb is, "The more intimate, the better." I think I agree with that - I know the modern writing which most piques my interest tends to be so close to the character as to be just outside of first-person.

Speaking of first-person...

On the spectrum of PoV, first-person is the most intimate. The reader is treated directly to the thoughts and observations of the protagonist. It's a bit limited, in that the author is unable to visit other points of view without jarring the reader a bit - you can't jump from one person's head to another, both times using first-person, and it's awkward to use the third-person to do so, although that's how most authors do it. So you're stuck - and you'd better hope that character is interesting. But ultimately, if you want to practice lowered narrative distance, you have to practice first-person. So, that's what I plan to do.

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