Saturday, May 31, 2008
For those of you keeping score, I have now re-started my novel for the fifteenth time. (OK, that's actually a guess, based on all the fragments of chapters in my "novel" file dating back to 2004. Many of these are from the point of view of the former main character, who currently does not exist.) As Andrew Altschul said in the class I took with him last year, a story or novel that keeps grinding to a halt usually has a problem with point of view. For me, the solution seems to be the omniscient narrator who is conceived as a character. He or she may or may not play a minor part in the story itself, but the primary role is as a kind of liaison to the reader. It's the best of both worlds--I can create a distinctive, untrustworthy and loopy voice, which I can't seem to do without in my fiction. However, I can also, by fiat, see into the thoughts of any character at will, and make sweeping pronouncements about the world, a la George Eliot. I can even get away with bad writing! (It's not me, it's my narrator!) So far, I'm not seeing a downside.