Sunday, June 7, 2009

Back from vacation

I'm back from vacation in Florida, just yesterday now. I learned how to ride a bike (and fell off one the day before we left). We ate like kings without breaking the bank, either, as the three families rotated cooking duties. All in all, a relaxing trip.

My work on the last chapter of Echoes continues, however. To give some perspective, I now have three different drafts of the chapter, all over 7000 words (though most of them have some shared content), and none of them are finished. I do think I'll finish the current draft I'm working on--I'm stuck on the fourth act--but it'll be a few days before I've completed it, let alone proofread that and the epilogue.

To relieve some of my frustrations, I put typing fingers to paper on Identity, breaking the rule I'd tried to adhere to not to start the story until I outlined it fully, but it was a refreshing exercise (even if I throw away everything I've written, which is only about 2500 words). I'm still ambivalent about whether to use first-person or third-person in this story, whether I should do something closer to Nicholas Torrence or to Echoes. Echoes is very choppy on balance: I could easily jump between half a dozen perspectives in the course of a chapter, or three or four in an act alone. The times I haven't done this (really just "The Brothers Hikari" and the first three acts of chapter twenty) have been, in my opinion, more artistic than the others (although "Imitations of Roll" and "Selfishness" are among the best chapters).

Writing Identity in first-person rather than third vastly changes the dynamics of the piece. Instead of an ensemble plot, I have to put most of those extra plot lines into subtle scenes that don't spell out the whole story (because the narrator, which I strongly believe will be Akane) couldn't know them. Third-person would allow me to make explicit more of these plots and allow the reader to anticipate the disasters that come when plots collide. Hence, a drawback in terms of plot, but the first-person always lends itself to a certain fluidity, one that only a single-perspective third-person could match, but only at the cost of intimacy. First-person really draws you in...or spits you out, as the case may be. When I outline the story, though, I think I'll have a better idea of how I want to do it.

Which brings me to another question, one I've always struggled with: is it better to work on one story, and stay stubbornly focused on that story even when it frustrates you, or is it better to have many concurrent projects, and as one puts up a block, move on to the next?

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