Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Splicing Multiple Viewpoints

The Read ...   How many viewpoints make a novel?  My unscientific guess:  two characters max plus a hint of villain in the prologue.

Finished Kay Hooper's Blood Sins, about a cult leader who misuses his talents, and I knew who he was before I was half-way through the book.  How?  Well, Hooper has this talent for giving us multiple viewpoints in each chapter -- including the villain.  Talk about talent!  Makes me wonder if the next book I read will seem shallow in comparison since I won't know ... explicitly ... what the other important characters are thinking.

Must mention that Hooper weaves the characters experiences into a linear story line that doesn't back track or repeat itself.  There was something of an info dump towards the end when the good guys were organizing to neutralize the bad guy.  Guess you can absolve it by calling the chapters a strategy session.  Hooper even added a complication in the last few pages that could have let the villain go free ... but didn't because of a great twist which came from within the motivations of the characters we met along the way.

Multiple viewpoints don't seem popular on the web.  Some even express "fear of head-hopping".  While I agree jumping from one character's viewpoint to another's within a couple paragraphs gets confusing, I really do find books with more than one viewpoint more rewarding.  What's more, I think is was more common in commercial fiction in the 70s and 80s -- when I was seriously writing -- and the change is stylistic.

Could it be that fewer viewpoints mean easier-to-write books?  Makes me wonder since my first fantasy opus of some 400,000+ words (Mariah) indulges often has two viewpoints in a chapter.

Progress ...  Emma is just sitting there because I'm trying to figure out what kind of focus to put on my agent search.  I know I have to glean agent possibilities into a pile of middle grade and young adult fantasy enthusiasts.  Simple enough to do with AgentQuery and Query Tracker ... plus the blogs I read, especially Casey McCormick and Chuck Sambuchino.

Problem?  Mariah is adult ... maybe even double if not triple "x".  Maybe the prequel/book could be turned into a young adult, but none of the others could.  Kerry (aka Austel's Idiot) may be an adolescent in the third book but she's attracting the attention of grown men because of her magical powers ... then, in the fourth book after she comes of age, she's in a threesome ... which is acceptable in her society since her grandmother (Mariah) was also in the threesome as an adolescent.  Maybe the prequel isn't a young adult after all.

Bottom line ... I think I have to find a fantasy agent who does adult, young adult, and middle grade.  Maybe I could squeak by with an adult fantasy agent and a youth one from the same agency.  Maybe I could just give up -- but that sort of isn't in my character.

I can just hear the howls.  My innocent little pitch ... about a girl [Emma] who ventures into Faery with her worse enemy to rescue a missing hobgoblin ... hooks an agent  Then, I'd throw foul-mouthed Britt at him/her, and the agent will say it needs massive revision (clean up).  Voices?  It's about ghosts, but stylistically, it's closer to literary than commercial.  Then, Mariah and Kerry?

Another problem ...  I like the books and haven't made up my mind that getting published is all that important -- even though you're watching me reach for the brass ring.

Voices ... pottering along and even have the evil/bad ghost delineated from the good ghosts.

Trivia ...  Rushed the afternoon errands because the skies turned black.  Didn't worry about snow though.  The daffodils are dead -- so the odds of a snowstorm happening would make me a millionaire.
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