Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

I’ve been working on Chapter 23 of Stronger … and it’s multi-POV. No, not omniscient or head-hopping, but I make direct scene breaks several times to switch POV between the hero and the heroine. It’s working a lot better than it would from just one perspective, because you get to see from the mind of both characters.

Thing is, I’m feeling very … weird about it. I’m not blocked or depressed or anything, but — this is something I’ve never done before. Yeah. Really.

Looking back, I used to participate in writing challenges at a community where chapters only counted if they were 1000 words. For some reason, I’d gotten into the habit of writing one scene per chapter, and I didn’t break that. Ever. Part of it is I’m obsessive compulsive — I want symmetry, dammit. I don’t notice lack of it in other work, but in mine, I want the same number of scenes per chapter, all the way through.

I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision, though. Just something I started doing and resisted heavily every time someone suggested a different tactic.

But … I’m really liking how this chapter is coming along. Cassandra, my heroine, is going out to be social at a goth club, and Alex is trailing her to try to lure her away and kill her. Except it goes a bit differently than both of them plan. 😉

It’s also coming out a bit longer than most of my scenes because of that, I think. 1500 words and I know I have at least another 500 to go.

So now I’m wondering if I don’t need to go back and fiddle with the POV on the rest of the earlier chapters … I dunno. I’ll save that for when I go over it again. Last thing I need is to get perfectionistic again.

I guess an ol’ bitch like me really can learn, after all. 😉

Anyone else have similar experiences?

5 Replies to “Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks”

  1. I have been through situations in which I find myself musing which POV should I write the scene or the chapter in. Sometimes I’ve ended up writing the same chapter from two different POVs to avoid head hopping. I find so annoying scene breaks that avoid them like a plague. Especially if the scene break is within the same scene but just to show another POV. It breaks my concentration when I’m reading. But, hey, that’s just me. *lol* However, the only thing I’ve learned new is seeing a scene from two different POVs and using those scenes in different books.

    BTW, congrats on the great review on Euro-Reviews! *g*

  2. I wasn’t so annally compulsive about my writing until I joined critique groups and other writing circles. Then for a while I was completely obsessed with the number of words in each chapter, who’s POV in which scene, how many scenes where in who’s POV, etc. But it was killing my writing. It was no longer a creative process. The stories were just writing – a string of words put together in a coherent manner. I didn’t derive any joy in storytelling. So I had to learn to stop my compulsion.

  3. Silma, that’s usually what I’ve done — wrote an entire scene from one person’s POV and then switched to another in the next scene. Problem is, it’s not always the best way to show things, IMO.

  4. Tempest: I went through much the same thing, though it didn’t hit quite in the same way. I ended up sticking to “the rules” even if it wasn’t the best thing for me to do. I didn’t realise that the so-called “rules” could be broken. *shakes head*

    Much happier now that I have. 😉

  5. Hello,

    I have bounced around the idea of using “Stronger Than The Night” as a story (screenplay, novel…) title for a while now. Glad to see that someone else saw the potential too.

    I read through some of your posts and have a suggestion – hope it helps.

    Forget about the amount of words in chapters or scenes. That’s good for exercises, but in a story all that matters is to do what serves the story best. If you can say what needs to be said for a chapter or scene in 200 words, than you’re done. Move on.

    You don’t get credit or points for symmetry or completing the task of meeting a word count. All that matters is telling the best story possible.

    You already have an awesome title…

    Congratulations.

    I wish you the best.

    Ray Mardo

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