I’m currently working on a novel called Dreamer’s Wood, first installment in the Blackthorn & Grim series, and my deadline is getting uncomfortably close. Indeed, the story is so much in my head at present that I really had no choice but to write about it for this month’s post.
Dreamer’s Wood, a historical fantasy/mystery for adult readers, is designed around contrasts in voice. Three major characters–Blackthorn, the disillusioned healer; Grim, her taciturn sidekick; Oran, the dreamer prince–take turns narrating chapters in first person. This framework allows emotional intensity to build between the main protagonists and provides good contrast within the narrative. It should allow the reader to get very close to the three central players. First person suits a character-based story, and although Dreamer’s Wood has a plot line that includes a double mystery and a fairy tale element, its real heart is the emotional development of these characters.
I started the project really believing in the triple first person narrative. The three characters came to life with their different voices, and the writing really raced along. I’ve done this sort of thing before. In another novel, for instance, I alternated first person, past tense sections for the female protagonist with first person, present tense sections for the male protagonist, who was suffering from memory loss. I thought that approach served the story well. But this time around, with the major part of the novel written, I’ve started having a few doubts. Am I becoming hung-up on the chosen format? Am I letting the structure overwhelm the storytelling? Are my control freak tendencies getting the better of me?
I hope not, as I simply don’t have time for a major structural rewrite before the deadline–my efforts will mainly be focused on getting the novel finished. But I am loosening the structure to ensure I maintain tension, pace and flow. The changes of narrator should enhance, rather than detract from, the unfolding of the story, otherwise why write the book that way? I’m taking note of the following: [Read more…]