Tuesday, December 04, 2007
BOM: The Writing
I like to try new techniques when I begin a book, so I thought I'd try something different in The Note. Some readers have remarked on it, but I kinda like the effect.
Because I wanted to hide certain things in Peyton's past--I didn't want the reader to have access to her secrets--I thought it would be "cheating" to use first person. In first person, a reader is supposed to have access to all a character's thoughts, feelings, etc.--or as much as the writer chooses to reveal. Anyway, I chose to write Peyton in third person.
But the other characters-- I was going for a theatrical effect. In movies, it's called an "aside"--where the character on film turns and addresses the camera, speaking to the viewer directly. So I wrote several other characters in first person, having them respond with their thoughts and views about Peyton. I hope it works. It's different, but surely there's nothing wrong with that . . .
I've already mentioned how I wrote a first draft that turned out to be way too short . . . and I realized I had completely neglected to write the INNER story, the story of character change. (that's the problem with being a plot-driven novelist. Plot can only do so much.) So I went back, round two, and really delved into who Peyton is.)
In the three characters Peyton meets in her attempt to deliver the note--I wanted to show, metaphorically, how people respond to the Gospel. Some people respond with their heads, not their hearts. The pastor flatly refused to believe that his dad could have written the note. No intellectual agreement.
Taylor Crowe, the songwriter, admitted that her father might have written the note, but she couldn't believe that he would because she couldn't get past her feelings of guilt and abandonment. Intellectual assent, but no heart willingness to accept the message of forgiveness.
The third man, Tanner, willingly accepted the note, but his intellectual assent was false, as was his heart agreement. In a spiritual sense, he "pretended" at being a Christian. He was only pretending because he sought his own advantage.
And then . . . the true recipient was revealed. The one who was the true child of the Father, the one who recognized the truth because of the love evident in every line.
And that's all I can say without spoiling the ending.
Tomorrow: the editing.