Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Mutinous Crew: Chapter 7

Chapter seven is a great exercise -- one not quite as contentious as the previous about tense -- and I'm puzzled why. Perhaps it's our binary nature. Tense has only two options: past (inclusive narrative tense) and present (focused narrative tense). With only two sides there must be for any situation a right and a wrong, and so sides are chosen.

PoV has many wonderful choices, and what I have learned from this is that I miss the detached narrator point of view. I'm not sure if Le Guin called it the most insidious point of view or most deceptive, but either way, I think it is that quality that intrigues me about it. While the point of view pretends to simply be a fly on the wall or the panning camera, it isn't, as things like word choice or even what the author chooses to describe frames the story and thereby the message. The author is there and has chosen to deny their own existence.  I think I also enjoyed the detached narrator because the author has to work much harder to show what they are trying to show. One cannot just whip out the emotional thesaurus and talk about the butterflies in your heroine's stomach. She has to play with her hair, pick at her fingers, approach things with small steps. In short, it requires work and even a little more work by the reader.

Still, as much as I liked it, I wouldn't use it all the time or even very often, but I think I need to practice it, and read it, more.

I haven't completed the exercises quite yet; I'm finishing up the last bit of the exercise -- writing the scene from the Involved Author PoV. Had I the exercises to do again, I might have considered doing the Involved Author PoV first. With it, one lays out the entire scene. What I discovered with starting with either first person or close third and moving to an observer-narrator or detached author, I was adding details that the characters wouldn't have noticed but would have had bearing on what they did. I guess that's what comes of writing the exercise as a 'Pantster'.


  1. I enjoy playing with different POVs, though close third is the one I usually settle on.

    I loved the POV CJ Cherryh used in her Chanur Saga--I can't remember the exact name of the POV atm but basically the descriptions of places are limited, with things the character would already know/ignore being left out. It leaves a lot to the reader's imagination, and is one of the reasons that series ranks as one of my top favorites.

  2. I am a big fan of the PoV she used in the Foreigner series. I now will have to check out the Chanur Saga