Today, I saw what I thought was a rare bird, in a park just near where I live.
Turns out it’s not really such a big deal. They’re mainly found in Australia, and any seen here in the northern hemisphere are escapees from some zoological garden or other. Still, it was cool to see it up close like this.
I’ve been through a rough patch lately, but I think I’m mostly over it now. First, a close friend’s dog passed away, and the next day a long time colleague in our France office died in a car accident.
Two sudden and unexpected deaths close to home has had me thinking a lot of serious thoughts. I’ve come to no important realizations. I’ve not gained any deeper understanding. I’ve just thought a lot, and I think that in the long run there’s some value in that too.
Life goes on, and so must we.
I’m making some progress with my writing. The third chapter of Emma’s Story is finished and ready for reading, but I’m going to try to stick to a release schedule of one per week so I won’t put it up until Tuesday.
As I write, I’ve been musing on the concept of voice. On the one hand, I consider that I have a narrative voice that works for me, and I’m really happy with that. I like to think it’s fairly distinct, but the may just be me. On the other hand, I’m concerned that my characters and stories sound all the same.
I don’t think that this is much of an issue when it comes to stories – especially not if they are similar stories, with similar characters, in the same setting. If my characters sound the same though, then that’s an issue. I don’t want someone reading about Enar to confuse him with Emma.
That would be bad.
I think I’m safe for this one, but I’m still fascinated by the concept of voice.
In Emma’s Story, I’m mixing two narrative styles, written with two different voices. It’s difficult, but fun, and I believe it works. It serves to rip the reader away from the characters and force them into the setting, putting their minds back into the world and reminding them where the story is taking place.
One way of thinking about it is like cut scenes in a video game. The character driven scenes are the main part of the game play where you kill all the bad guys and where you’re behind the controls. The far-distant narration scenes are the cut scenes between the missions. They explain what’s happening and why you’re killing all the bad guys.
In the end, the important thing is I’m having a good time and I’m trying out new things. Hopefully I’m learning something too.
Finally, I’ll share a picture which shows how I’m not learning things. I’ve been pretty good with the planning and outlining of my story so far. Then this happens:
Part of the reason I’ve made such great progress with the previous scenes is that I had the dialogue all typed up already. Not so here. Apparently I figured this scene wouldn’t be important and that I could just improvise once I got to it.
I can sort of see where I got that impression from, but after just having finished the chapter before this, that all goes out the window. Filling out the conversation with beats and actions added quite a lot more depth to the situation than I’d anticipated. Chances are, if I don’t do a full conversation outline of this scene, I’ll mess it up and will have to come back and do an outline afterwards anyway.
Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. More than once while writing Enar’s Vacation did I scrap a scene halfway through, write an outline, and then write the scene again. It works, it gives a good idea of where to take the scene, and where not to take it. It’s just not very efficient.
It’s rather frustrating actually. I guess it’s part of learning too.