Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IWSG - January, 2014

In my experience, the only thing that's more difficult than writing historical fiction is writing historical fiction with multiple points of view.  I have the choice of writing anything I want, and yet this most difficult thing is what I must write.  It's my compulsion, my obsession, the thing I think about every day.  It's my white whale.

I wrote the first draft of this novel about a year ago in third person with minimal description of things related to the time period (since I hadn't finished doing the research).  I figured that would be easy enough to add in later.  Last spring I did a huge amount of research and began rewriting the story in first person.  If told in first person, this story has to be told with multiple points of view because no one is present for all parts of it.  To complicate things further, the story cannot be told from the main character's point of view because of what happens to her in the story.

This morning (it's actually Monday that I'm writing this), after getting feedback from my teen (who would make a brilliant editor some day if she didn't loathe the idea of it so much), I figured out precisely how to execute it. 

Insecurities to me means things we doubt about ourselves or our abilities.  I never thought this was something I couldn't do; I just hadn't figured out exactly how I was going to do it until this morning. Part of the job we have as writers is to experiment with different ways to tell a story until we find the one that's just right.  So instead of feeling insecure this morning, I feel incredibly excited to resume work on this very challenging novel. 

I'm very grateful for the brutally cold weather this morning (-1 with -30 wind chills) to keep me and my kids inside.  I'm declaring it a writing day punctuated with lots of fun (puzzles, animated movies, and Nerf gun wars in the living room).

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This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  If you aren't already a member, it's never too late to sign up. 






34 comments:

  1. I'm going through the same thing with my ghost in my story. It starts off in first person, but in order to continue the book, I have to go with third person and lose her awesome perspective on her own history.

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  2. Sometimes those different ways are uncomfortable, but we just might find our answer exploring them.
    And I'd stay inside!

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    1. Oh, I did stay inside. As for the writing, I really like a challenge.

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  3. Damn that's cold!
    I love it when you figure out a unique way to tell a story. Even ironing out a plot is a blessing when it hits you.

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    1. I'm really happy I figured it out.

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  4. I don't think I could ever write or pull off historical fiction. I can do the future, but not the past, so I am bowing down to you right now. ;) POV is always tricky. I still struggle with it occasionally, especially when I am picking up an old project, so it's great that you found the answer.

    Good luck with your story!

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    1. I was doing research on my ancestors and got fixated on the idea of how they could carry on every day when life was so hopeless. The farther back on the family tree, the worse life seemed to be. Three of my great grandparents were a good part Cherokee and somehow survived the Trail of Tears. I'm fixated on it, so I think this is what I'll be writing for a long while.

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  5. Tonya, I feel your pain! Having always written in 3rd person, tackling a paranormal YA in 1st person felt as awkward as learning to walk in heels. But after a while the creative muscles get used to it and you're striding along in style. Best wishes!

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    1. I tried first person as an experiment after writing the same chapter in 3rd person. It was kind of magical.

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  6. Yeah, I'm not thinking I'm going to be doing anything more historical than the 80s.

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    1. The 80's was kind of awesome. I miss my big hair.

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  7. Stay warm! Historical fiction is so fun to read when done right. Good for you for sticking with it!

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    1. It's obsession, so I have no choice really. :)

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  8. I love it when epiphanies burst forth all bright and shiny. For me, however, the high lasts a while but then I'll find a reason my brilliant fix won't work. Then it's back to the drawing board. Good luck on your great white whale!

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    1. I've done that lots of times. I think this fix is going to work. I wish I had seen it months ago.

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  9. Good luck with the story. I hope the excitement carries you all the way through to the end.

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  10. Congrats on figuring out just how you want to write the novel. That has to be a wonderful feeling. Stay warm!

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  11. Yep, sometimes all we need is a bit of an execution idea. Best of luck with your project!

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    1. Funny that the best critique came from my teen who hates writing (but loves literature).

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  12. Sounds like you've made great progress with the novel! Well done!
    And I can only imagine those low temperatures. Brrrrrrrrr.

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    1. I think the cold temps are over (fingers crossed).

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  13. There's nothing better than that "Ah-ha" moment when you realize how a scene or chapter or book should work.

    I only wish I could use the cold weather in Michigan as an excuse to write instead of going to work.

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    1. Well, I was considering the writing to be the work.

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  14. Historical fiction...difficult!!! I give you major props for even going in this subgenre. So glad you are awesome enough to tackle more than that but the multiple views. Can't wait to see how you do!!

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  15. You're a wicked tease, Tonja! I wanna know your solution!!!!! ;-) J/K; we writerly types gotta retain a bit of mystery, don't we?

    PS: I recently read one of Poe's "Marginalia" on the naming of the U.S. - his vote, though he doesn't explain in this text why he feels this way, is for "Appalachia!" Makes me want to research what all the hubbub was around naming the nation!

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  16. Hi, Tonja.

    We were insanely cold here in Chicago too... but this weekend things warmed up.

    Yes, at times writing is like working on a 50-150,000 piece puzzle. How it all fits is up to us and many times we have to experiment.

    I've worked on my second novel for about two years. A few publishers requested the full ms, but turned it down. UNTIL one editor from said publishing company contacted me and loved my story. But she said it needed a major rewrite. Thankfully she is working with me on it.

    It was originally written in first person/past... now I am writing it in first person/present. It absolutely reads better. So you just never know.

    You WILL figure it out!

    All the best for 2014!

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  17. Isn't it great when you finally figure out everything? There is a huge sense of relief and excitement. That will keep me warm even when it's cold out (but, I do wish I could have a Nerf gun war).

    Good luck with your story.
    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com )

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  18. That is great! So nice when you figure it out and have a clear path. I hope you had an awesome writing/fun day. It's cold here again today, 1 above. Wooohooo! :-)

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