Sunday, June 22, 2014

Almost Sequel?

This post has nothing to do with my recently published book Beyond the Unknown. Sorry. I do have a question for my readers that I really do need answered.

I wrote a book in April for "Camp Nanowrimo" called My World of Glass. It's a book I'd been writing since a few days after Christmas 2013 and I finished it a little bit into June. It was long and was pretty amazing if I do say so myself. Anyway, my problem is I want that book to be edited and made even more amazing, but I want to write the same book in a different character's perspective. Is this a good idea? Or should I just go through and do the alternating chapters thing? All I know is that if I did make them two separate books then Dessa's perspective would be book one (that's the book I just finished) and Demetri's POV would be book two. I love Demetri and want him to have his say and I want to write the book in his point of view but I don't know which would be easier or more practical. The book is already relatively long (for books I write, still relatively short compared to the world's standard) and it would probably double in length if I did Demetri's POV. But the thing is, I want to have this book with the same scenes and very little differences, just in a different character's POV. That's not how you do alternating chapters. I'm so confused about it! So I decided to go on and ask my blog readers for their opinions. Should I edit My World of Glass and add in alternating character's chapters and have the same scenes from Demetri's POV, or should I just write a "Part Two" almost sequel? What say you, world?


  1. The question is, what would you gain from adding his perspective? I will demonstrate from three different opinions.

    From me: I write typically in 3rd person limited, as you know, but I try to keep to one POV per plot line, since I usually have two or three running around (the last book of mine you read is an exception). Why? Because I only need to tell it once. If I repeat the same scene twice, what am I adding?
    "-- ------," said X.
    "---- ---'---" said Y. I hated Y.
    That's what the extra POV would amount to: an extra opinion here, a word there, maybe a hint of worldbuilding the reader would not have otherwise received. But is that worth doubling the book? Personally, I don't think so.

    From the Published and the Famous:
    I can think of two examples for this. Lucky you!
    First, I think of Orson Scott Card. He wrote a parallel book to Ender's Game called Ender's Shadow, from Bean's perspective. However, the first half of the book was Bean's setup to Battle School, and when Ender's timeline collided with his, the books shared about two scenes, maybe three. Why? We already knew what happened, and Bean was a strong enough character that we could guess what he felt about certain people and occurances without being smacked in the face with it.
    The other one is the Matched trilogy by Allie Condie (I think). It has a single POV for her first book, two for her second, and three for her third. Why? Because in the first book they all live on the same street and in the second the FMC and MMC don't meet up until more than halfway through. What's more, once they met up, they used very little of the MMC's perspective. She kept to the pattern of alternating chapters, but used the MMC to offer just a glimmer of him. Because the MMC was more poetic, it usually came in the form of a short poem, reminding us that he felt happy about X or Y, or simply expressing his feelings in a short way that strengthened his character. Not even a "chapter" -- usually a hundred words, maximum.

    From the world: The only time that siblings have to share the same story twice is when they're on opposite sides. Otherwise, all that's asked is, "Is this true?" followed by a quick nod. 'Nuff said.

    I have a feeling, though, that you have already made up your mind, whether you realize it or not. If, this entire time, you feel yourself growing angry at me, or thinking, "She doesn't understand how amazing Demetri is", or among those lines, go with it, if tha'ts what you want. You now understand that I'm against it -- I feel like it would be too repetitious, would drag the story, and doesn't offer enough info/action to tackle the new information. If you're adding his POV because "Oh, well, he talks to her or does this and Dessa's not around for it", take a step back. Does it apply enough to add an entire POV to a single POV story? What does the reader gain? How does this increase tension in the story? What will the reader learn? How will it add depth?

    Ask yourself this questions. If the answer to every one is "Because it's Demetri's POV!" or "They'll learn his perspective on things", don't. Books are about characters, but the plot has to be moving.

  2. This is why I love when you give writing advice. You are amazing and I was never angry with you believe it or not. I want to do it in his POV because he in the first book puts up a wall and is hiding who he is. He is literally a different person than through most of the book. He has two lives. He would have a very different take on the world. I think I might just do it in a separate book because he has such a two sided life.

    Thanks "Kirah" :)

  3. Anytime, "Rose".

    If you're doing another book in his POV, give him a separate story line. That could be complicated, since the two end up romantically entangled and it's hard to imagine the story line in his POV being important if it's never mentioned in the first one, but I'm sure you can find a way. Or alternate scenes between characters if you do it in the same book. Maybe do a novella with him showing what you feel are key scenes showing the "hidden" him, but I don't know if it's worth doing another book on.

  4. Demetri is the one who holds all the cards in book one. He is the only one who knows everything needed to know. Dessa wanders around in her own world for most of it. And it skips around in the timeline a lot. She lives in the past in half of it and the other half skips weeks at a time. I think I could do it well enough if I just added new scenes that are on the timeline but Dessa never "mentioned" because they weren't important to her story. Dessa's story was one of trust and survival. Demetri's is Courage and faith. They would be completely different takes on the same story. Does that make sense?

  5. Characters can follow different themes without necessarily being POV. If Demetri is the one who holds all the cards and knows what he needs to know -- basically, a proactive character -- and Desse wanders and lives in the past, why is it in her POV? You said that Dessa's story is about survival, and Demetri's is about courage. Personally, I'd rather see more than just surviving. I want to see courage.
    However, I still believe what I stated earlier: it would be to repetitive. You go through a book for the experience, yes, but you also go through it for what happens inside the book. Harry Potter would be completely different from Ron's or Draco's POV, but we never see it and not only is it still a strong story, but all three of them have their own struggles and themes. We don't need their POV because Harry catches them in their strongest and most vulnerable weaknesses.
    I understand that Dessa is telling about her struggles, and her survival about it. When reading it, there was a prevalence of love (and hormones), or lack thereof. I understand that Dessa has PTSD and that she has a story she's trying to tell, but what is she saying that Demetri won't find out eventually? Whose perspective gives the most complete showing of the story? Which one will be the most emotionally satisfying? Both follow different themes, yes, but that theme can be shown. It sounds like Dessa is the weak link here. I've tried writing from a broken, non-acting character. It's like having Harry sit in the library watching Hermione try to figure out a who Nicholas Flamell was without raising a finger. Writing a character who sits at the side of the action, who cannot live outwardly, makes them dull.
    Five things make up a character:
    What they Say
    What they Think
    What they Act (Well, do, but we need the acronym)
    How they Interact with others/their surroundings
    How others React to them
    Mentality? Essential. But four of the five things have to do with what the reader can see. It has to do their environment and how that personality, no matter how hidden it is, interacts with its world. For example, we could see a Draco POV of Hogwarts with the exact same scenes and get the themes of adulthood and difficult decisions or whatever the fandom insists it is these days, or we can infer it by how he acts around Hermione (a "Mud blood"), Ron (a "blood traitor"), Dobby, his teachers, and so on. Then, later, when he becomes stressed, we see that change in him and pick up on it.
    This example may not seem related to it, but I promise it is. How does Demetri interact with other classes? How does this make him different from the other characters? Why on earth do we need both POV's to get a theme when it can be implied?
    This makes me think of English last year when we read The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo. At the end each of us picked a different character to analyze the theme he/she gave. We never saw their minds exactly, but we could see how they changed and their attitudes.
    Dessa sees Demetri as no one else does -- or so it's presumed, as she is his girlfriend. A scene or two of confiding might do the trick instead, of when he felt afraid, when he was brave, and what a stretch it is for him to X and Y and Z. Or write from his POV and let him watch Dessa react in her shattered world while he struggles through his. Which one is the story you really want to tell? If you feel like you want both, either switch them through first person limited chapters (though it'll tell the reader right off the hook they'll get together, even if he's with another girl at the start) without repeating scenes, or do third person. Choose one, switch with no repeat, or third person no repeat: these are the options.

  6. Here's my problem with this last post you've given me: You and I have never ever written with the same style. You've always disliked my writing style and please do not try to tell me you do like it. You have always criticized it. Which is not always bad. But your critisism verges on rude at times.

    Demetri's story would be different. He is rarely with Dessa other than when he has to be, and even then it's rarely mentioned. Because they only live together and don't really interact together until right before the climax, it would be a completely different story. He has other worries besides dying. He has other responsibility. And when he is with Dessa it would be a different experience. I am not focussing on publishing these books but it is for my own sake. And who knows, maybe if I do publish it, I'll like Demetri's POV better and publish that one. That's why I'm doing it. Because it is a different take on the story. It is my way of rewriting the book 6 times like you have with all of your books. I am just trying to keep both versions.

    You are right. I have made my decision.

  7. Yes, you're right: you and I write very differently. Our styles, our approaches, our mental games, the way we edit -- all different. :) At the same time, that's because we look up to different authors and are pushing different messages. I respect that, or at least I try to, and if I have ever offended you, whether in the above post or in criticism in general, I apologize. In the above I was under the impression that you were pushing towards publication in both POVs (which I know now is wrong and that it is a personal story) and was trying to give you what you asked for: an opinion. I was not pushing to be rude, and I am truly sorry if it sounded that way. Your writing style is not inferior to mine, neither is mine to yours, but we will always write differently.
    Thank you for clearing it up with Dessa and Demetri. I did read part of their story and tried to offer advice civilly and constructively (book feedback is hard to take without feeling a bit offended -- and I would know :) ). I was under the impression that they spent a lot of time together, but if so is not the case, it makes me much more for this sort of thing.
    This post is mostly to clarify that I did not mean to offend in any way, shape, or form. I am argumentative, a bit too much so (you don't have to comment on that), and I was asking questions that I ask myself when I consider POV. Yes, you and I write differently. But every story has characters, has a plot, has tension, and I was trying to help you organize via Sydney-style. Yes, it was an argument against your idea, but I hope the questions at least helped you cement your decision. Again, I misinterpreted your intentions with this book, which changed how I would answer things. Keep in mind that I never approach anything, least of all writing, with the idea to cut down. I will watch my tone in the future and apologize if it seemed too cold -- I was running last minute somewhere and had to post quickly. :)
    If you want to go with it, go with it. In the end, I WILL support you, even if it seems that I stand in bold opposition for it. I don't. You asked my opinion in it, and I gave it. Twice. A little overstated, but you have my ideas, my reasoning, and sources, both published and otherwise. Again, not there to offend, but to express and maybe cause a question or two. Stick true to the story: that is the core of every writer's art, isn't it?

    (Here's where I'm a little hedged, but I'm trying not to sound pert.) Also, as a point of clarity: the only book I've written multiple times is Realms, and even then the story changed drastically with each telling. I was trying to find a place for it, a good story to fit the characters. I doubt I'll ever be satisfied with where it's told, but I'm always keeping a mental lookout for ideas.
    When I get ideas, I always write a couple of chapters of it. Sometimes I get 20,000 words in, sometimes I only get 2,000. That is not my way of rewriting: that is outlining to me. If I do not finish the book, that idea is free grabs for what I need to add to next time, to combine ideas, change themes, and create characters greater than before. No, I do not rewrite all my books six times. I usually stick with thorough revisions, which may including a retyping in some parts, but I don't open up a new window and start from scratch. Please make sure that it is "all of [my] books" before you state something like that.

  8. You're right. I'm sorry, Syd. I should be used to criticism but I think because I've known you for so long I'm just so touchy. And you're such an amazing writer that I will always be hoping to be as good as you. And I did exaggerate. I'm sorry. Thank you for your critiques.