I’ve come to realize that my books are starting to resemble children, and not in the way that some people say “they’re like my children, I couldn’t choose between them” or “it’s like giving birth to a baby” after a book is published. I mean, they all have these distinct personalities, and a lot of that is linked to what it was like to write them.
All Unquiet Things was the oldest child, the experimental one. (I wrote books before this, but they were terrible and therefore more closely resemble the ugly clay “vases” I used to make for my mom in kindergarten than children.) It’s the responsible one, the complicated one, the dark one, the one that sneaks out after curfew, the one I spent ten months teaching to drive just so it could crash my car, etc. It took a lot to get AUT in line, that’s for sure, and there’s still more work to be done.
MB is the high-spirited, mischievous middle child. Writing it was the literary equivalent of the four hours (JUST FOUR CAN YOU BELIEVE IT) my mother spent in labor with my brother (also the middle child). It’s funny and warm and romantic, but also dark and mysterious, because it learned a trick or two from its older sibling.
GR and SM? Okay, well, they’re like EVIL TWINS or something. They won’t sit still, they’re super stubborn, they refuse to do the things I ask or answer any of my questions. Very often I realize that I can’t do very much if I don’t focus, so I decide to put one child down to care for the other one, and then the one I’m ignoring starts whining and crying and demanding attention. WTF, evil twins? Can’t you be more like your older siblings? I mean, AUT was difficult but ultimately very rewarding, and MB was a dream, A DREAM!
This is why I should probably never have children. Also, probably why I should stop trying extended metaphors in blog posts.
My point is that I’m having a hard time wrestling GR and SM to the ground, especially GR, which refuses to budge. Usually when this happens I write a little bit, hoping that the act of writing will spur on revelations about the plot. NOT SO in this case.
Actually, I’m afraid of the POV I’m using in GR and keep second guessing myself, to the point where I wrote and rewrote the same paragraph ten times a few nights ago and then last night I erased it entirely. My past two books have been written in first person, but this book must be written in third person, or shifting first person, which…no. I did that in AUT and it was really hard and…hey, maybe I should write in shifting first! No, I really don’t think so, but I think I’ll have to write in shifting third close, because omniscient, which is what I’d planned on, doesn’t seem to work.
My other problem with GR right now is that it has tone, but no voice, or at least if there is a voice it’s really weak and not comparable to Neily or Audrey or Will right now. That’s probably the result of the omniscient third POV, so when I get home on…Thursday night? God, when’s my next free night at home? Sunday? Oh blurgh, anyway, when I’m home on Sunday I’m going to settle down, commit to shifting third close POV, and hopefully the voice will just flow right out. And then hopefully the plot will just flow right out, right into a nice tidy synopsis that I can then follow for the rest of the book. That sounds like it’ll probably happen exactly that way and require no pushing or shoving or begging or pleading or bargaining or thinking from me.
In other news, I bought my copy of Paper Towns today, and my copy of Let It Snow, even though one of those two isn’t supposed to be released until tomorrow. Oh well, I’m a big cheater. What are you going to do about it? I actually have an ARC of Paper Towns that I got through work, but I’d feel like kind of an asshat showing up to John Green’s signing tomorrow (7:00 PM! B&N Tribeca! Be there or be…somewhere else, I guess, I don’t know your life!) with a copy of his book I got for free and asking him to sign it. Someone has to keep Bubbles the Nerdfighting Puppy in kibble, you know.