After fighting to hear the voices of my characters since we moved in February, I decided to sign up for Camp Nanowrimo with a vain (or so I thought) hope that something would jar loose.
It’s succeeded in ways I hadn’t expected. I gave up on One Small Touch for this summer’s Nano. I don’t have 50k word left in the story for one. And my cast of characters has been mute (aside from small mutterings here and there) for months.
Instead, I chose to revamp my Djinn story. Rewrite what I had into 3rd person and go on from there. It wasn’t that I didn’t like what I had written before, but I felt it could be better, much better, in 3rd person.
If you’ve ever switched tenses then you know it’s not merely a Find/Replace process. Not only is that dangerous because you can wind up with words like puniId (if you replace she with I) which is a real pain to weed out, but there’s a different rhythm to a book written in 1st person vs 3rd. Which is why I’m rewriting what I have instead of merely replacing pronouns and the like.
Let’s take this paragraph from One Small Touch.
It was nearing midnight when I came across the crash. It was raining and my first hint of something wrong was when I tried to park on the shoulder of Grant Road to remove a small downed branch and nearly ran over a broken briefcase. It was open, hinges burst, and papers were clinging to the pavement in scattered bunches.
Not bad for a first draft in 1st person, right?
Ok, now let’s look at if if I do a Find/Replace.
It was nearing midnight when Aaron came across the crash. It was raining and his first hint of something wrong was when he tried to park on the shoulder of Grant Road to remove a small downed branch and nearly ran over a broken briefcase. It was open, hinges burst, and papers were clinging to the pavement in scattered bunches.
So awkward it makes me cringe. And it came from my mind and fingers. /shudder
I started working on my Djinn story. Rereading what I’d previously written, doing research on things arcane and trying out new opening lines.
And my heroine from One Small Touch started yelling at me in the back of my head.
“Hey! What about me? You’ve left me alone in a room with someone creepy and weird!”
“Jealous much?” I asked her. “I’ve been begging you for months to talk to me and not a peep but now that I’m thinking about someone else you appear.”
Mutters in the background.
“Fine. You give me something to say and I’ll work on you again. I’ve got a few more days until Camp Nano starts. Show me what you got.”
She hasn’t shut up since.
Perhaps it’s not merely the voices in my head that are crazy…
Addendum: After all her bitching Laurel only gave me a couple paragraphs and went back to muttering about being forgotten. I’m starting to wonder about her…