Saturday, April 23, 2011

Trying something new

I get bored easily.

I'm not saying this is a good thing or a bad thing, because ultimately it is both.

On the bad end of the spectrum, it means that once I feel moderately competent in something, I either stop doing it entirely, or stop improving myself in the obsessive way that I tend to run after shiny new things of interest with every speck of my energy invested.

On the good side, this means I'm rarely afraid of trying something new and I'm really not afraid of failure. I tend to self-teach, so I'm used to tripping, falling, re-thinking, then re-doing in a more efficient manner.

So here's my new thing.

I have always written in third person limited/subjective. Okay, I've dabbled in other perspectives, but I haven't even written an entire short story in anything OTHER than TPL/S. If it's a short story, I stick with one character, but in longer stories, I usually swap back and forth between characters (when a scene changes, not in the middle of one).

Is it weird to admit that, as a reader AND a writer, I don't like being locked into the close-and-personal-intimate-thoughts of every character?  I find it really difficult to connect to first person narratives. I never think, "I wouldn't say/do that!" Rather, I think, "You shouldn't have said/done that. You're pretty stupid." It's as if I am the uncomfortable (and unfortunate) victim when a random stranger traps you and vomits up their life story on your brand new pair of shoes.

Note I said "stranger" in that last bit.

I have never been able to commit just a portion of myself to something/someone. It's all or nothing. 0 or 100%. I connect very deeply and very closely with those I let into my inner circle and just don't have the energy (or stamina) to keep up with a lot of people in their daily ups and downs.

And it's the same thing with characters. When I do connect, it's deep... terrifyingly deep.

Another thing I've never done is written in present tense.

So what am I doing now while taking a break from edits/re-writes? I have thrown myself into a first person present tense story.

And yeah, it's hard to keep slapping myself upside the head and changing those "I bolted" to "I bolt" etc. It's even harder to chain myself into one character's head and *live* there, especially as it's a young boy who has recently suffered a major trauma (emotionally and physically) and is being bullied at school.

I may not finish this story, or it might be the only one I ever write, but even though I'm stumbling around, I'm having fun with it. And that's enough :)

What about you? Do you tend to swim in the safe, familiar waters when it comes to POV and tense, or do you play around a bit?

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