A few months ago, before the start and end of Breaking Bad‘s final season, I wrote a post on here about this really odd story I was conceiving at the time, and asked for some input on point-of-view. I wanted to create a feeling in the reader of almost being too close, too intimate with the two main characters in the story. Usually the way to create that sense of closeness is achieved through using first person, and certainly one approach would be to write from one of the character’s own perspectives, put the reader in her head, in her sensation of the situation being painfully awkward too close for comfort.
But I was a little burnt out on first person and thought there might be other ways to go. When I pictured writing the story in my mind, I saw it as third person, he, she and all that.
So I posted a poll. Interesting that no one picked first person, and that a third person viewpoint was preferred slightly to second person. A small sample size to be sure, but the funny thing? I started working on the piece and it’s morphing into something even stranger and longer, and I have some sections, the longer sections, the here and now sections in third person, and the other, alternating sections, which are more like ruminations and riffs on different topics that come up in the main story in second person.
So the story is still going on, and it’s incorporating the poll results almost perfectly. It’s also interesting that the more immediate parts are in the he and she, and the other parts, the parts that give the reader a bit of a break from the uncomfortable tension, are in the you, your perspective.
It’s also getting really long and there’s still so much more to write. I probably have over fifty handwritten pages so far and there’s still so much more to go. It was always a fiction/nonfiction hybrid but now it’s also becoming part lyric/personal essay, and part narrative story.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m getting too weird in my writing. Around this time last year, I wrote this long essay that was split into twenty-three sections and wrote them in chronological order and then jumbled the order to create certain effects and impacts. And I’m working on another piece now that also plays with time and weaves different time periods together in a braided type structure. I never used to do this stuff–playing with time and structure and genre like this, seeing it all as liquid, and I’m not sure if this new approach will lead to some innovative pieces or writing that is just too weird to work.
But experimenting sure is fun, regardless of the results.
What do you think? How do you decide on the structure or order of something you’re working (whether writing or otherwise)?
- Writing Question: Point-of-View Poll
- Where Do You Get Your Ideas
- Writing as Time Travel
- The Colors
- The Truth About Me
- Points of view.
- Picking a point of view
- First-Person Point of View
- Point of View
- How to switch point of view without confusing the reader