Wednesday, October 1, 2008

First Person

I haven't written here for a long time because I am having trouble balancing my school life with my writer life. I have this pact with myself that, for the most part, I'll keep these posts from being about the school life. I'm sometimes mildly successful... but yesterday I had a long awaited talk with my agent, who is not only a constant source of support and inspiration. She is also, and this I find to be the most important part, HONEST. We talked about There Is No Happy Ending (which, by the way, is a *working* title) She told me what is working. And it is the things I love. It is this crazy cast of characters with their bangle bracelets and jagged haircuts. It is the emotion of everything new and doing things you probably shouldn't. It is the feeling guilty that you get to do things your parents couldn't.

What isn't working? Well, the pacing. Slowslowslow. This I knew was true. I can fix this. And the narrator. Every character in this project is so real. Except Rory. Somehow I neglected to fill her out. And now, she stands at a cold distance from the reader.

What if, I whispered into the phone yesterday, what if I changed the narration to first person?

I really think that could work, agent affirmed. Which I was afraid of.

The narrator seems uncertain of her, agent went on.

Yes, I said. She is. I am.

So what if Rory were the narrator?

Ok. I don't have a good reason for making this story third person. I simply wanted it to work. I wanted to do it well because it is so rare that I read a good story about seventeen that is in the third person. So does this mean I can't do it well? Or does it simply mean Rory needs to speak to the reader, because it is her story being told, because without her voice speaking up she seems cold and flat and made of paper. I'll have to see.

Speaking of first person and COMPLETELY off topic. Please check out this blog. This is a project just beginning at my old job. I used to work with some of these students and I will talk until the end of time about how amazing they are. Look for yourself.

(ps, yes, that is me not keeping school life separate again... I try.)


jonnyskov said...

My WIP is about 17 and it's 3rd person...we shall see if it works or if I end up having a similar discussion with my agent.

One thing I did to give it a little more of that immediacy was to do 3rd person present, rather than past. Think about it...maybe try it out on a chapter, see how it sounds.

Either way, good luck!

Heather said...

thank you. Im actually going to post a little bit here I think... and can I tell you how excited I am for Struts and Frets? VERY.