I am far too tired to come up with anything incredibly insightful this morning. But here I am!
I couldn’t sleep last night because those spring allergies got to me. So I took a combo of melatonin / pseudoephedrine. The melatonin made me drowsy, but the pseudoephedrine kept me awake.
Hey, if this is my big experiment with uppers and downers, then I’ll be fine.
I did manage to sit down at my writing desk for an hour, in that weird headspace. I looked over my novel-in-progress. I puzzled over the voice of the piece. It’s something akin to a knock-off Nick Carraway at the moment, which feels anachronistic at best. Though there’s a freedom in the way Fitzgerald wrote Carraway that I want to bring to my book – the freedom to tell something as I want it to come across, rather than show as some omniscient narrator.
I know. It’s a writing class no-no to prioritize ‘telling.’ And for a good reason. When you first start writing, you often do it in the mode of ‘telling a story’ as you would in a simple conversation. This happened, then this happened. Any comments? It’s a deliberately stripped down affair to make room for conversation, which should be the goal of any reasonable social person.
But in creative writing, the writer has a lot more time and attention, if they earn it. And showing the glint of moonlight on broken glass is prettier than saying a window was shattered. Saying things in a pretty way earns attention and gets your piece read.
So why am I trying the ‘telling’ way? The first-person filtered through an incredibly biased personality, relating a story that isn’t his own, but that of the time around him, and particular people?
For me, there’s two hidden dimensions at play. One – the narrator’s bias becomes an implied character. And two – the person the narrator is talking to also becomes this hidden character.
Last night, at least in my weird allergy-medication haze, looking at the first person draft and trying to figure out who my character was talking to totally changed the tone and gave me somewhat of a guideline to make the piece more uniform. A ruler’s edge, of sorts.
So there we go. Don’t write into the wind. Write to someone. Emphasis on one.