On WIPs, POV, and Conflicts Relating To Choice

Pot has given me the green light on my major plot points for Red! Some of you might be questioning my need for my crit partner’s approval.  It’s not that I have to have it.  She’s not an agent or editor who can demand changes to my story.  But I’d be just plain stoopid (which is worse than stupid) not to listen to her because she is–annoyingly–always right.  So this is big Woo!  This means I can move forward with the outline proper, and might even start the writing NEXT WEEK.

My hero for Red, Sawyer, finally started talking to me the other day.  This was a relief, as I was starting to wonder whether the whole book would be from Elodie’s perspective.  Sawyer, as it turns out, has some serious anger issues.  When he told me about his first encounter with Elodie, he was still pissed about it, pissed at her for being so flipping stoopid and apparently he told her off.  This is not at all how I anticipated their first meeting going.  But hey, two alpha personalities butting heads is one of the things I love best, so yay.

I’ve been on the fence with how to deal with perspectives in Red. Both Sawyer and Elodie will be POV characters, so that’s not an issue.  The issue comes in with whether to go with first or tight third.  Certainly first is more prevalent in the genre, and the opening blurb I came up with a couple weeks ago is most definitely strongly in first and wouldn’t sound as good in third.  But then there’s another option.  There is a journal, kept by several generations of Elodie’s family.  It’s part of how she finds out some of the history pertaining to her…condition.  I’ll definitely be quoting excerpts from the journal, which will be in first person (obviously), but I was contemplating having the main action be in close third, shifting between Elodie and Sawyer.  It would be an interesting mix, give me the personalization of some snippets in first, but allow me the comfort of writing primarily in my preferred POV.  We shall see.

In Devil’s Eye news, I realized that I had more problems than just the villain.  His motivations and what he wants is important, sure.  That helps drive the action.  But there wasn’t enough conflict.  Setting up a villain to go head to head with your hero or heroine is a very obvious sort of conflict.  Good guys vs. bad guys.  And there’s nothing WRONG with that.  But I like things that are not so simple.  I realized that the only conflict going on for Sophie was an external one.  She was, well not exactly missing a character arc, but she didn’t have enough of one.  She wasn’t forced to make any difficult choices.  Bad guy takes her sister, of course she’s going to go after him.  It’s a total no brainer.  But I got to thinking…what if bad guy is using Sophie’s sister to blackmail Sophie into doing something she’d never do?  Getting some Mirus prisoner released or stealing some artifact.  Something that goes entirely against her straight-laced, law enforcement job.  Something that’s likely going to lose her that job at the very least, and likely get her executed–assuming she survives her encounter with this big baddie in the first place.  It’s still a pretty obvious choice–of course she’s going to save her sister–but it becomes a more difficult choice.  She loses something by making it.  And that’s the kind of conflict that was missing.

4 thoughts on “On WIPs, POV, and Conflicts Relating To Choice

  1. If Pot were always right, she would not be in a complete rework of her own outline, which seemed sound enough until 20,000 words into the story, when it just obviously was not going to work. Just sayin’.

    When I mourn the loss, I keep telling myself: I will not allow this book to suck!
    (this is getting less amusing to me over time)

    (Impossible to mourn the loss of time when that’s all me. Pot should probably not take so much time out to wallow in personal drama, which is where you will find her again today.)

    1. Well okay, let’s clarify, you are always right about MY stuff. Because I think it’s easier for you to look at someone else’s stuff and see the problems and what’s not working than it is to see the same in your own work. Plus, let’s face it, it’s less painful to slash up somebody else’s work than it is to do your own.

  2. Your process fascinates me Kait, cos it’s so different from the way I write 🙂 You work through all this stuff before even starting the story! while I tend to begin sorting it all out near the end of the first draft and on into the editing stages.
    I was in the middly of a thorny one this morning: hw to get al lthree of my characters living together in Istanbul 1493 without incurring gossip and being kicked out of the neighbourhood… Gotta find a plausible reason/explanation…

    1. It saves time in the long run. I don’t want to write repeated drafts of something because a draft takes me a long time, and I’ll get bored with it. Better to take a few weeks or a month to figure out the major details so that only a few scenes need to be rewritten totally and the rest just edited.

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