The most common complaint I am hearing from those that I have shown the blessed (bless-ed? CURSED) debut novel (fragments, don’t get excited Laurence), is that I am making it a bit harder to read than it should be – in a technical sense.
My problem is this (Tom is the main character):
- I (narrator) want to talk about Tom in the third person, for when I can’t do show not tell. Also, I need a third person narrator to help shift some of the scenery and characters around. Tom will however be in most if not all scenes. In my head, the narrator is simply a camera that can see into Tom’s head, and presents the world as Tom sees it, while occasionally panning out of his head to give context.
- Tom often thinks of himself in the third person.
- Tom has an internal monologue kind of chuntering away the whole time.
- Tom also has clearly defined ‘thoughts’ that are ‘heard’ above the monologue – or at least should be distinguished.
So – with all that in mind, I’m writing a lot of this:
A. Tom considered the valise. He wondered where it should rest. ‘No rest for the wicked.’ He wasn’t wicked though. Tom’s valise rested.
Hang on. That’s too contrived. This (from memory) is nearer a ‘live’ example.
B. Tom’s Universe winked at him in the darkness. He tried to gather his thoughts. He failed. They were too sticky. ‘Like… like…like meringue.’
The problem is slipping in and out of his head. But each time I try to clarify what is internal-general, what is internal-specific and what is simply borderline autism, it tends to make it a mess for the reader. Do I need the quotes around meringue? (Now there’s a sentence one doesn’t get to write every day). There are also logical / world inconsistencies that the reader simply has to accept – ie the Universe, while the reader knows what it really physically is, has ‘living’ properties for Tom. What I’m trying to avoid is this:
C. Tom imagined that the shapes moved in the darkness. He was confused and couldn’t make sense of things. He visualised his thoughts as similar in consistency to a meringue.
Do you think it’s ok to simply have this instead:
D. Tom’s Universe winked at him in the darkness. He tried to gather his thoughts. Failed. They were too sticky. Like… like…like meringue.
Sigh. Not a biggie really. But I’m a little worried that it will not really turn out as I intended. I’ve just read ‘The Gargoyle’ and the author uses a typographic device to achieve the same thing – his inner demon / snake is represente in text as block-cut texts. It’s just that it feels like the story will lose some of the identity-based issues if I present Tom in any other way.
But then again, if no-one reads it because they keep having to double-check which ‘voice’ is speaking, then it’s all moot, n’est-ce pas?
MOOT MOOT! Bon mots for boon moots. Moon boots for mon bots. If a bot were a foot that would have been perfect. Foot moot boot.
But I digress. I’m meant to be researching something for chapter 5. Hush now.