Saturday, April 30, 2011

"I lie"

I was asked what my favourite quote was last weekend and it didn't even take me 2 seconds to think before I was blurting it out.

I'm going to ad lib it, since I'm not sure if I have the words exactly right:

'When a man says "I lie" does he lie, or does he speak the truth? If he speaks the truth, he lies, and if he lies, he speaks the truth.'
Mark Twain

In a former post, I mentioned that I generally don't write in first person. One reason is because I don't like being so 'intimate' with my characters (since usually they are quite dark) but the other primary reason I don't write in first person goes back to my somewhat *obsessive* nature.

I have a detached writing style (let's call it my *voice* since it's something I've worked at intentionally) and when I do jump into character's heads, it's usually because they are observing someone/something other than themselves.

Perhaps having a background in animation is a part of this, but I love the challenge of showing how/why a character is reacting a certain way only through their dialogue and body language, yet always filtering this information through the mindset of another character. I do this because I think we lie to ourselves more than we realize and often those closest to us have a better understanding of how we truly are through observing our actions and reactions.

We are usually unaware of our own hypocrisies... so the only way a writer can show such complex things is through the eyes of another character.

When a character says, 'I lie', often that character is unclear whether he is actually telling the truth or telling a lie. This subtlety is something I think would be quite impossible to convey to a reader in first person.

What do you think? Are there types of stories you've started, then had to re-write when you discover the limits of that particular POV?

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Type me out a line of Shakespeare or a line of nonsense. Dumb-blonde-jokes & Irish jokes will make me laugh myself silly :)