Challenging yourself

Jodi Meadows posted recently about “the story that scares [her]“: a certain story idea or approach that she found intimidating to consider writing. Her recently-published book Incarnate was one such story; her current WIP is another. There’s value to stepping outside your comfort zone and stretching your abilities as a writer. For one, you learn new tricks and tools that may open up options and opportunities for future stories. For two, it’s a scary, brave new world and there’s a thrill that tends to come along with attempting something new and daunting. Hopefully if you’re thrilled, it will come across in your writing and your audience will be, too. (Also, if you’ve been in the biz long enough, it helps keep your product fresh; after half/a dozen novels of a familiar, comfortable style eventually they start to sound the same.)

My last three novels (Magestone/Snows of Sorrow, Secrets, and Resident 619) have all been told as single first-person POV. For my next one, which I’ve been starting to do some preliminary planning on, I’ve been toying with the idea of trying a dual-POV story. It’s kind of intimidating for me because I’ve never done it and not only do I have to come up with one character and narrative arc, I have to have two, with two equally compelling and relatable characters, and make sure they play off each other evenly. It’ll be a challenge. But I’m feeling like I’m up to a challenge at the moment. And my horizons could probably use a little broadening.


4 responses to “Challenging yourself

  1. But, I would think it gives you an opportunity to flesh out your characters a little better – you can get not only how each character perceives themself, but how they’re perceived by others… and of course two perspectives on every situation. George R.R. Martin would be the master at it, of course, but I really liked Robertson Davies’ Deptford Trilogy for that as well. In the first book (Fifth Business) you get to know the protagonist’s life in detail. In the second book (The Manticore), it’s told from the point of view of the antagonist (from the first book)’s son, and you’re surprised to see the original protagonist as an eccentric old man with lots of nose hair and funny mannerisms that, obviously, he wouldn’t describe about himself but would affect how people interact with him. And the events of all three books are all wound around a simple event from the first book and you get to see its repercussions from three different perspectives. It’s very well done. I think I’ve recommended Robertson Davies to you before, but let me do so again. ;)

    • That’s very true, too. Which actually probably makes it even more of a challenge to write two points of view, since you have to be conscious of how the other perceives the first and develop not only an internal view of the character, but also an external one. I think I’ll enjoy doing it… but goodness, it’s rather daunting. ;)

      And yes, you’ve recommended Robertson Davies before, but I still haven’t read any. So I’ll make another mental note. ;)

  2. I like this plan. Just saying. :)

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