Times Two

I’m attempting something different with my latest work in progress, two writing methods I’ve not tried before.  My first two books were written in first person narrative.   The first book from the perspective of an eleven year old girl, and the second, from the perspective of a thirty year old man.  It’s funny how they worked out like that, and it makes me feel think I’m fairly adept at doing a story this way.

The two untried methods came up like this.  When the editor, Caroline Upcher, sent her feedback, she suggested I try third person, and she also suggested I might try to write from different points of view.   After mucking around with it for quite some time, (read many, many false starts) I’ve landed on doing a dual narrative, and my head has been splitting ever since.

It’s disastrously, crazy, I’m going to rip my hair out complicated when writing from one person’s perspective, then the other.  You have to decide, each time, where’s the best place to pick up the story.   Do you take each incident and flip flop between the two and get their feelings down, or do you make a simple one sentence statement by the other person, after you end the chapter of the other person.  See what I mean?  Even that sentence doesn’t sound right, and I’m simply trying to explain it.

At least I’m not the only one who says it’s hard.  The “magician” said so (more than once.)  And every stinking thing I’ve read about it says so.   Like this article:  http://isabelcostelloliterarysofa.com/2013/06/10/guest-author-susan-elliot-wright-on-writing-a-dual-narrative/ which used words like daunting task and difficult to get right.

Blech.

The only dual narrative that I’ve been successful at lately has been me telling me, wow, this is hard.   The other thing that is hard, or maybe was hard, since I’ve hopefully moved past this sticky spot, was to integrate the story.  This has been my biggest oopsy moment in this first draft.  I was going along merrily, writing my protagonist chapter, then my antagonist, and after more than a hundred pages in, the magician gave it a read.  I could almost hear her from here.  (XOXO)  She spotted this problem immediately.   And while I was thinking I was building tension, all I was really doing was telling two different stories centered around the inciting incident.

Clunk.  (that’s me, having one of those V8 moments)

The one thing I can forecast about this project at the moment is that it will take me longer than the other two.  And in the end, if I am able to type THE END, I anticipate a few more gray hairs.

What’s the most challenging writing project you’ve taken on?

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