New Excerpt — Point-of-View Insanity
5 March 2009
I’ve posted a new, additional excerpt of Long For This World.
This section is written in a very different voice from the first excerpt, and in first-person point of view. The novel shifts between first-person and third-person points of view throughout, which was one of the most difficult things about writing it. I swore to myself, “Never again,” and yet… lo and behold, Sebastian & Frederick does the same. Isn’t this someone’s definition of insanity?
The decision was intuitive, but the further away I get from the writing of Long For This World, the more I understand how the world and characters of the novel necessitated this shifting form.
I went quite a ways down the road of consistent third-person narration with Sebastian & Frederick before it became clear that a first-person voice wanted to emerge as well. For the record, I find first-person narration the most difficult of all narrative points of view… and would appreciate it if, one of these days, those “I” voices would shush up when I’m trying to write a novel!
I’ll consider myself in reasonably good company, though. Julia Glass’s Three Junes is a wonderful novel that shifts POV in this way; and rumor has it that Barbara Kingsolver, whose novels also shift first-person and third-person POV, writes each section of her novels in every point of view before deciding on which works best. This makes me feel just a little less insane.