Sometimes, I over-think things.
Not an uncommon failing I would guess but it can be awkward and inconvenient. If I was going to have a failing, I suppose this would be it given that thinking is one of my favorite hobbies.
So tell me, my fellow writers out there, how often has this happened to you?
There you are, beetling along and working on your current masterpiece. You’ve just finished another scene and you know that you’re heading into a set piece. You know what needs to happen in this scene, even if you haven’t exactly worked out all the details yet. And then, all of a sudden, you have to decide whose point of view to write the scene from.
(For the grammar nazis out there, yes, I do realize that I should have written “… from whose point of view to write the scene,” but I didn’t want to be that formal on my own blog.)
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not the kind of writer that will force myself to stick to only one POV character. I don’t do more than one at a time but I like to switch things around. For one thing, I find it a good way to let the reader know about something that Character B knows but Character A doesn’t. I also find it a good way to keep the reader from finding out too much at one time, like when Character A doesn’t know something that Character B does.
And then, things just look different when you see them through different sets of eyes.
There have been times when I have had to delete entire scenes because I tried to write them from the wrong point of view. It sounds like a pain in the neck but I don’t mind it because it means the difference between a scene that works and one that … well … doesn’t.
So, there I was a couple of days ago, poised to embark on this scene that I’ve been leading up to for the last three chapters or so, when I came to a screeching halt because I couldn’t decide whether the Big Scene should be told from the point of view of Character A or Character B.
And I do mean screeching halt. I did no writing at all because I was thinking about it. And thinking about it. And continuing to think about it.
Then … I made a decision.
What a relief! Finally, I could get on withe my Big Scene and make wonderful things happen and everything was going to go smoothly because I had figured it all out, right?
Only then a funny thing happened when I actually opened up the file and started writing.
All that perfectly good and logical thinking went straight down the toilet and I wound up writing the scene from Character G’s point of view instead. And the funny part about it is that I never even wrote a single word according to plan. As soon as I sat down and lovingly placed my fingers on the keyboard, I just started writing. And it worked perfectly, no second thoughts, nothing.
It was wonderful.
I have no regrets except for the wasted time.
I guess that ought to teach me that whenever I’m having a tough time trying to decide whose POV to write from, that means that everybody I’m considering is the wrong person. When it’s the right character, you don’t even have to think about it.
It just comes.