Thursday, 23 April 2009

An old favourite

I've been wallowing in edits for a month, but the job is done now, so now I can breathe more freely, look around me and see what has been happening. True to form, I immediately plunged back into another story that needs work. At the same time I started reading Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant for the second time this month and made copious notes.
Reading it has sparked off so many ideas that I now need to begin a third edit of this unfortunate book! Now I'm investigating Document Maps and Templates on my laptop and debating buying a book on Word - if only I could remember which version of Word I have. Ms Grant tells me that it is so much easier to keep a character template alongside the ms and I believe her. I've never attempted it previously because I was always half-way through something when the idea occurred. Starting afresh, this could be the time for Templates!

I now have definitions for all those Viewpoint terms and if I become fuzzy on them sometime in the future, I shall look up Third Person Multiple and know exactly what it is. I read on Anita's blog (look on the side-bar) today that she wants to try a story in First Person POV. It seems tempting in spite of the general concensus that First Person is not liked by agents/publishers. Speaking personally, FP always seems old-fashioned, and I get very tired of seeing "I" on the page. So easy to become repetitious, and difficult to get around what is happening to other characters.
And yet, I returned The Persian Boy to the library yesterday and suddenly stopped as I write to consider that surely Bagoas told the story in the FP, and I never really noticed?

Here is the first para:
"Lest anyone should suppose I am the son of nobody, sold off by some peasant father in a drought year, I may say our line is an old one, though it ends with me. My father was Artembares son of Araxis, of the Pasargadai, Kyros' old tribe. Three of our family fought for him, when he set the Persians over the Medes. We held our land for eight generations, in the hills west above Susa. I was ten years old, and learning a warrior's skills, when I was taken away."

That's first person, all right. But then Mary Renault was a first rate author. I picked the book up with some misgivings, wondering how it would stand the test of time. It was written 37 years ago, but I need not have worried. I enjoyed it all over again, and enjoyed her style, so subtly and enjoyably different to the Dan Brown's of this modern world. (And the three enjoyables in that sentence must stand as testament to how well,... enjoyable it was!)
Now I shall look out for her other titles to be re-issued.

2 comments:

Anita Davison said...

This first person thing is quite interesting isn't it? I have picked up a few books from my own shelves and it's surprising how many of them are written in FP - and I didn't notice. One author sent me a message saying it can also be an excellent plot device, the reader 'twigs' the killer/secret brother etc. long before the main character does, or the reader is kept in the dark and only finds out when the main character does. Interesting points I thought.

Jen Black said...

One of the best I read was Singing Bird by Dorothy Halliday (aka Dorothy Dunnett)What a plot twist!
Jen