Authorguy's Blog

Your opinion please!

Posted on: September 11, 2011


My normal writing style, as anyone who has read my post on Shared Vision knows, is to use the character in focus as the basis of all my description. The POV technically is the same, third person (very) limited, but the person, the focus of the POV, changes frequently. Usually with each paragraph, especially if there’s dialogue. Some people have complained about this but I know of no other way to do it.

My latest WIP is a bit different, as they all are. The POV is the same but this time I think the focus is also staying on the one character most of the time in a given scene. I have some scenes where the MC is not present but in those I also have one character keep the focus throughout.

The problem is this one scene I just wrote.

Dennis Washington signed the paper and sealed it into an envelope, placing the finished parcel just
so on the table as the door crashed. He didn’t move, didn’t even bother tracking the intruder by the sound he made, stumbling through the apartment. He already knew when the man would appear-now-in the doorway to his special room.

He looked peacefully up. “That time already?”

***

This one looked old. So peaceful, so calm. Had to be oldest. The killer pulled a knife from his jacket
pocket. Let’s see him stay calm now. The world promised him a good show.

His prey pulled out a pistol.

Too slow! Fear and rage sped the killer’s reflexes. He pulled his own gun much faster and shot his
prey right in the head. Blood and brain matter splattered the wall behind him. Knife in hand, the killer took a step forward, ready to revenge himself on the dead man. The world promised him a good show, and the world lied!

He heard the world’s screams, coming closer. The blue men would come, they always followed the screams! They would
find him, take him away, take away the world from him again!

He ran, upending a table as he went. It was a small revenge, but it would have to do.

***

The psychic had already moved his equipment out of range. Easier to clean that way.
Only one drop of blood fell elsewhere, on the envelope containing his killer’s name.

It’s one scene, with two people in confrontation. Separating the parts with stars feels wrong, since it’s one scene. On the other hand, merging them also feels wrong, since the shift of focus covers not one paragraph but a series, and there’s nothing to indicate (other than the repetition of ‘peaceful’) that it’s one scene until the end, when it’s revealed that Dennis and the prey are the same person, a very minor reveal that I’d like to keep. I could merge the various paragraphs into one, and then shift the focus as usual, but that also seems the wrong way to go.

How would you handle it?

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2 Responses to "Your opinion please!"

I would have one person in regular font and the other person in italics, seperated as you have them. Interesting way to write a story!

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It’s the only way I know. I’m not trying to tell what I see, I’m trying to tell what they see. My main interest is what the character perceives and how he reacts to it. Some people call it head-hopping, but I think of it as third-person limited brought down to the paragraph level, too close to do the usual baton-passing. This is a multi-paragraph scenario that isn’t up to scene level.
I’m also considering changing

This one looked old. So peaceful, so calm. Had to be oldest. The killer pulled a knife from his jacket
pocket.

to

The killer pulled a knife from his jacket pocket. This one looked old. So peaceful, so calm. Had to be oldest.

The baton-passing is done by specifying the killer right off. Then I can lose the stars.

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