At the moment, I am working on a supernatural Victorian novel called Mulgrave Castle. My main character, Harriet Twine is a young woman who gets dragged mentally and physically into a suspicious murder because she has physic powers which she will not acknowledge. She is also desperate to find love with the suspicious Dante DeGuise but we will leave bedroom matters for another day.
I am on a major re-write as I initially tried to write it entirely from Harriet’s point of view and then decided that I wanted much more insight into the mysterious DeGuise family of Mulgrave Castle and also wanted more of Jane, Harriet’s paid companion, personal thoughts to come through. I spent goodness knows how long changing the point of view and then I posted the first few chapters on the loonyliterature website. The posts have been removed since re-writing started again.
The extracts were extremely well received, the main criticism being that the point of view moved about too much. As I had already changed the point of view about once, I decided to completely put the work aside and leave it for a few months and then go back to it. I find this really helps when I am not sure whether I agree with criticism or not. It means that the manuscript I am working on has gone cold in my mind and I can look at it with the eyes of others, more than if it is deeply entrenched in my brain through constant working on it.
A strange thing happened before I went back to rereading my last draft of Mulgrave Castle, I was reading Phil Rickman’s book “The Man in The Moss” and found the constant change of point of view really annoying. I found that I had to stop and think every few pages about whom we were dealing with. I was further irritated that my two favourite characters, who the back of the book suggested were the main characters, did not feature nearly enough as the point of view seemed so stretched out. I normally love Phil Rickman’s work, his Merrily Watkin’s books totally transport me but although, I still enjoyed “The Man in The Moss”, I know that if that was the first novel of his that I read, I might not have looked for his other books and been the big fan that I am today.
I reread Mulgrave Castle and decided that the lovely ladies who had given me this critique, Maria Thermann and Ross Mountney were spot on. It means that I have a huge job of rewriting as over half the novel takes place when Harriet isn’t there. There are times, at the moment, when I could smack myself around the face with a cold fish for changing the point of view in the first place. However, maybe if I hadn’t tried it another way, I would never have been truly happy not knowing that I had found the best possible solution to Mulgrave Castle’s point of view.
Has this ever happened to you? I would really like to know about your experiences of point of view so that when I am banging my head against the laptop at 6a.m. I know that I am not alone.
- What sort of writer are you – explorer or planner? (loonyliterature.com)
- I Feel Rather Stupid – To Post Or Not To Post? (loonyliterature.com)
- Conjuring and Capturing Feelings – Inspiration in Ruins. (loonyliterature.com)
- Try to see it my way… (lalammar.net)
- Be Willing To Embrace Different Points Of View (lumatha.wordpress.com)
- Pitch Slapped: First Person Time Travel, and why it’s a bad thing in blurb-writing. (thecanaryreview.com)
- Productivity and Time Management for Writers – My Experience – Part 1 (davidmcgowanauthor.com)