Friday, May 20, 2011

The Dilemma

The story and the characters for the novel I’m beginning to write are solid in my mind. The plot is amorphous but like a blessing-river, has clearly-defined banks. That river is flowing and is like a living thing.

I know this story because it is a symbol and, like all true symbols, those which accurately reflect God’s realities and point of view, it has an outcome and that outcome is justice.

The people are real to me. I could close my eyes and reach out and touch their collars and feel the grain of the fabric. That real.

The setting is an actual place, the time a point of history that was documented by many observers.

It is as if the whole thing trembles with the vibrancy of a creation, and the brilliance of rain-soaked color.

The problem is me.

I cannot decide. Do I stand in the place of God—for that is what an omniscient narrator does, right?—and tell the story?

Do I let the characters tell the story, in their own words, with their own blinders?

Do I let one character tell the story?

And in all these cases, do I relay the information in present or past tense?

How does one make such decisions when the story does not demand any one of these choices?


Wendy Paine Miller said...

"trembles with the vibrancy of a creation"...great line.

I've been here.

Try your first chapter in each.
(Let us know how you resolve this.)
~ Wendy

Nicole said...

Why not multiple POVs? Or two? The "rules" or trends won't allow for omniscient so use it and others. You can do it. Make it different, Latayne. Dance.

(P.S. The overview of omniscient can speak of another "character" not always God relaying the story from a place of observance past or present.)

Anonymous said...

Latayne, knowing a little bit about this story, I already can't wait to read it. I agree with Wendy, try it each way and see which one seems right. You could also have a blend (as I did in Unraveled, which I hope to release this summer). The story was written in first person, present tense, but for the flashbacks I wrote in past tense. I'm not suggesting you do it that way, but a blend of some type might work.

Latayne C Scott said...

"Argh," she said, because she could not find good words.

"She can do it, I say, or my name isn't Sharon Souza."

Can I?

"Can I?" she said.

Could she?

Latayne C Scott said...

Okay, you can say you were here when I made the decision. I wrote the first two chapters in first person but past tense, from two viewpoints.

There'll be at least one more POV that will also be first person past tense.

Thanks for your input!

P.S.Prakash said...

Actually, I am kinda facing the same problem. My story has a number of characters so I am confused on which POV to use. Will multiple POVs make the story confusing? Can I use multiple first person POVs along with the third person omniscient narrator?

Latayne C Scott said...

P. S., in the best-selling novel The Help, the author used three POVs and one chapter with an omniscient POV and it seemed to work great.

Thanks for your comment. This is your first time to comment? Welcome!