This week I worked on figuring out the logistics of my story such as setting, general plot line, and main characters.
One of my writing idiosyncrasies is my unconscious desire to start my process by laying out the beginning and end of the piece. After speaking with Teacher Victoria as a part of my librarian check-in, I was struck by the idea to create an air of unreliability amongst the characters from the beginning, so I worked on writing out what I wanted the first draft of the beginning of my story to be like. Here is a short excerpt from the untitled story. It is merely an intro, so this is not the first chapter.
I’m a girl with a problem. It’s not like I don’t know better; I just always find myself drawn to these types of situations. I know better than to do something like this to someone I’ve known for so long, but here I am doing what shouldn’t be so hard to resist. But it is; it’s oh-so hard not to tell him everything, not to spill every ounce of misplaced trust-flavored tea. I know that when it comes to keeping my best friend’s secrets, her most guarded and private confidences, I should never speak a word of them. She is my best friend after all, the person I’ve been closest to since what feels like the dawn of time. I met her over fifteen years ago, and yet, I’m betraying her trust by relaying her most confidential matters to a man, a boy rather, that I’ve known for not even all of a year. For what? Because I fancy him? Because his eyes sparkle like the moonlit Dead Sea, and his ears shift in the most adorable way when he smiles, because his hair mirrors his shoulders as his body shakes with laughter, because his hands grip my waist with the most mesmerizing force, and his lips appear rounded, as if reaching out to me in the most delectable way? I’ll admit. I’ve always been quite the helpless romantic. She knows that. I’m in love with the idea of love. How could I deny anything to the man I’m falling in love with? I mean, she knows enough of love to think this a worthy excuse, right?
It would be hypocritical for her to say otherwise. She’s done worse than I have, much worse. So, therefore, what I do should hail in comparison to her, and the need to bring up stuff like this should basically be nonexistent. I love my best friend more than she loved hers.
Ironic she almost killed him for loving her to death.
For the past few days, I’ve been working on deciding on a specific point of view to write in for the autobiographical fiction novel, as I wanted to stay away from the overused first person point of view for as much as I can. After speaking with Teacher Victoria and Teacher Kevin, the historian, I am considering switching narrators throughout the story, flipping back and forth between the main character and her best friend, leaving the difference in credibility or trustworthiness of the two characters for the reader to measure.
In addition to the blog I mentioned last week, I subscribed to the Writer’s Digest blog newsletter, and found an interesting article by Céline Keating, the New York-based author of the novel Layla on point-of-view and its importance in viewing a character’s experience and creating such for the reader. The link to her column is below.
As a photographer and huge lover of object placement, I loved when Keating compared finding the story’s perspective, or lens, in which the narrative distance would come about by, to figuring out the parameters, distance, and focus of a camera when taking photographs. Later on in her article, she also offers two exercises to develop a writer’s point-of-view muscles. I ended up completing the first exercise, which asks the writer to “take a paragraph of a story or novel you’ve written and switch points of view and narrative distance. If you wrote it in first person, try it in third. If in third, try a more omniscient narrative stance. Note what shifts in the story, the different choices you’re forced to make as a result.” My writer’s block was magically gone after writing from the various perspectives of fictional characters, and I was able to write my first few lines when, and only when, I had completed this exercise, so I truly do recommend this starting technique for any aspiring writer out there!
Join me next week. I can’t wait to share more with you as I find my way through this new kind of writing process!
(Images from Keating’s Blog)