Monday, April 25, 2005

Rah! Revisions suck dead donkey

in a really, really bad way. I'm really not that into pain, which is hard to believe, considering how much of my life has been spent in it. Oh well.

So, I'm looking at THOE (The Haunting of Elizabeth, also known as Hidden Within and a bunch of other titles). I posted this problem on my local group to get feedback, but only one person offered her opinion. I'll include it here as I type. Right now, as readers (and some writers) I'd like YOUR opinion on the following.

On the Merritt judge pages, I got a 10 (perfect) in dialogue from one judge, and a *5* from the other. The one that gave me the five said: "You do dialogue very well where you have it. I think four pages of no dialogue is bad." Yeah, well, bite me.

So, you're in DEEP POV (point of view) in this character's head. It's not scenery. It's action. So I don't get that at all, and why that shoved me to 50% of the available score, no clue. She needs to go suck raw eggs that were left out from last in 2004.

Whatcha think? Four pages with no one flappin' their gums too much? If you think so, please let me know WHY.

Point of View
Secondly, another person (not from the Merritt) has told me that they disliked that this character (of whom we're in this deep POV) is shot at the end of the scene. Now, this scene was originally written to kill off an agent that told me I should never write another word with the dream of being published one day. (No, I'm not kidding.) But as I wrote it, it ended up a great scene. The reason we're in a POV that's going to die is because of this: The greater the impact the better for the reader. If the character is clueless, then the reader is as well. When the character faces something, the reader does at the same time. I wanted the clueless character to lead.

Now, the one person that replied on the emails addressed this problem. She thinks I should switch to the hero's POV (he's who kills this character). That we can draw out his love of country over self (he had an affair with the chick he's killing, but she's a spy for bad guys now.) He remembers their times together, the smell of her hair, and times like this are when his job just sucks. Then he shoots her. The writer giving me this advice said "You could get a real tear jerker out of this."

Yes, possibly. If there are potentials for tears to be jerked, I can usually find them, no matter what the topic is. So, do I switch? Do I take away the element of surprise and put it in the hero's POV? After the chick is shot, it does switch to hero's POV and things are discussed, and that's the intro to him, his job, and his next assignment, which is going after the heroine to kill her. What I MAY do is start it in the chick's POV and then switch it over sooner to his, so I can have him watching her, and remembering stuff.

I dunno. Comments? Questions? Opinions? Toss it out here.

On a personal front, here's a bit of an update:

Tomorrow is another rheumo appt. I'm going to discuss with him the need for assistance on the weight issues. If he still refuses, I'll tell him I'll be getting help from the Internet and ordering my meds I need from Canada. Can't wait to hear his reaction to THAT. I'm going to lose the weight, with or without his help. Hopefully I can urge him that it'd be better to reluctantly help me than leave me alone to help myself.

The parental units will be arriving on Wednesday. Wednesday is Syd Vicious's birthday, she'll be five. Then Friday is my middle daughter's birthday and she will be 11. So they'll come down on Wednesday then leave Friday afternoon. Carly's having her birthday party Friday night, a sleepover (gack!) and then Sat will have Syd's at the city park. Mom and Dad, the chickens that they are, decided to leave before the sleepover. I wonder if I can hitch a ride with them.

When they're visiting, I rarely get online. I think my mother still thinks that the Internet was created by Satan. But we all know it was created by Al Gore. Oh, wait....

Nevermind. Mom's theory makes sense now.

On a pleasurable note: FINALLY reading Stephen King's ON WRITING. I have literally laughed out loud I don't know how many times. I like that it's so personal of him, plus informative to me as a writer, one writer to another, like he's speaking to ME. Hmm...started with dialogue, ended with King. Life is good.



Anonymous said...

Hey, Bren!

On your POV thingie, sounds good to me the way it is. "That doesn't work/is against the rules" is only true until someone buys your book. ;+)))

Hang in there.

ZaZ (also in revision hell) said...

Regarding Al Gore and the Internet, we always knew that our mothers were right. (I feel like I'm in my Business English class from high school. I'm worrying about getting everything correct from a grammar and punctuation standpoint.) ..... As far as the weight issue goes, I know that time isn't the most flexible commodity that you have. However, the walking and then running helped me immensely. Competition is always good though: expy told me yesterday that she is up to 1.5 miles a day and has a 5K walk as a goal for the fall!

Brenda Bradshaw said...

Hey Jon!!! (Not to be confused with my dead ex pathological liar Jon.)

Now you know my health conditions. I'm lucky to walk through an entire day, much less run! I have started doing an indoor walking tape that covers one mile and doing it every other day. But I can barely walk the next day afterward. (sigh) Glad you dropped in!!!

Shari said...

I think....

You should leave it in her POV until she gets knocked off. Then switch to his. I do like the part of him watching her and remembering their times together. It would show that he does have feelings but also a job to do.

Four pages without dialogue isn't bad but now you will have me paying attention to another thing as I read!!

Hope the doc gives you what you want!! Now I would love to be there for the slumber party - if only there wasn't 5.5 states between!!

PS - Did you call about the jars???

Shari said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You could leave the POV on her until she dies and perhaps use small flashbacks scattered through the story showing he watched her and the relationship they had prior to that?


Amie Stuart said...

On the four pages of narrative i guess it would depend on what it is. Personally I'm a narrative scrooge and I always have to go back and layer in scenery, internal reflection, senses etc because as a reader, I hate getting bogged down in it. So take my 2 cents for what they're worth *ggg*

Happy birthday to the little chicas!

Anonymous said...

With regard to four pages of no dialog: lots of times people will think they know what's wrong with a scene, but won't really. So maybe that part of the scene wasn't working for her, so she assumed it was the lack of dialog. It's (obviuosly) really hard w/o seeing the scene, but maybe it was more that those four pages were lacking conflict. You say they were action, but were they DRAMATIC action? Was it action of just going through the day or was there action that had dramatic tension and upped the stakes and put her in conflict. Because really, tons of great books have more than four pages w/o dialog, so that's basically absurd.

Onto killing off the POV character. A lot of it will depend. If you start the book in this particular character's POV then you REALLY risk alienating your reader, and you need to decide if its worth that risk. Think about it, we pick up a book, and we WANT to like it, we WANT to attach to someone and get sucked into that world. So lets say the reader buys into this character and likes her and follows her into the story world.
And then you kill her.
The reader is going to feel cheated or betrayed or tricked. Not a good thing. Especially, especially if you haven't used any other POVs in the book yet because there isn't anyone the reader still has a vested interest in. Does that makes sense? So they've just invested a half hour of their time, and fallen in like with your character, and now she's dead and any attachment they've formed to your story world risks dying then also.

Its not so much about breaking or sticking to the rules, but understanding what you LOSE when you break those rules and then deciding if it's worth the risk.

Rob C.

Karyn Lyndon said...

On the 4 pages without dialog, just remember: show don't tell. I know it's hard with 1st POV because most of the time (all of the time) your character is "telling" what's going on. That's why dialog is sooooo important. Also, remember those pesky judges need something to gripe about!

: )

Brenda Bradshaw said...

Actually, I don't write in first person. (I did start ONE in first person, but that's the rare exception.) Yes, there's a lot of action in the scene, so I don't know. The other person gave me a 10. Maybe this lady had issues. Who knows.

I'm leaving the scene, but as the gun is placed on the back of her head, I'm switching over to Alex's and playing him sooner. I didn't have it switch to him until after she'd dead, but I think it would be interesting to see her actions and comments as her life is on the line from the person that'll do the shooting and how he translates what she does and says. After all, he's her ex-lover, so he knows her well.


Karyn Lyndon said...

ooops...sorry. i guess i misunderstood what deep pov is (what is deep pov?) and i thought you were writing chick lit (not that chick lit HAS to be in first person, but it usually is.) anyway, nevermind.