Optimism is NOT Arrogance

Arrogance is the belief that you are BETTER than others. Optimism is the belief that you have the same CHANCE as others. We all have the chance to achieve our dreams. Don't ever let anyone tell you differently.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

From First to Third

No, not another baseball analogy. Although if I were to give one it would be "WHY IS CAITLIN AT THE FRIGGIN' MOUND FOR SO LONG! LET'S GO! GET THE GAME GOING!"

Still no word. But hey, in the meantime I've managed to revise the entire book from first to third person. It's a trick, but it's not as hard as it seems. The key difference is losing the internal dialogue and thoughts of the characters. That's the real insight that you can't get too easily in third person. Take this passage for example:

"Only boys? Dude, I would seriously kick your butt across the attic if I had to. Fortunately for him I didn’t. He leaned in close to us, so close that I could smell his breath, which, by the way, totally grossed me out.
“I don’t know who you are,” he said, “or what year this is, but listen to me carefully. Whatever you do, do not go looking for it. Leave it be.”
I told myself “Don’t say anything. Don’t say anything. Don’t say anything.” This guy made NO sense and I didn’t want to upset the crazy person."

Very personal and up front. You not only know what the character's thinking, but the multiple thoughts he's having and the conflicting emotions - bravado versus fear. It's more intimate: we're in their mind.

When I changed it, it came out like this:

Ben was actually offended by that. Only boys? He thought. Dude, I would seriously kick your butt across the attic if I had to. At least, that’s what Ben’s mind said. His body told his mind to stick it - no one was moving anywhere. Pinchbeck leaned in close to them, so close that he could smell his nasty stale breath.

A third person narrative can still have the perspective of the character, but it's not as intimate. The conflict is still there - the bravado of the mind against the immobilizing fear of his body. But you can't have too much inner dialogue in a third person narrative or else you come across as a first person narrative wanna-be. So I kept the one piece in about kicking his butt, but had to put the rest in the third person. I also took out the crazy person reference because that was another internal thought, and in the third person it became kind of unnecessary.

What do you think? I like the first person better, obviously, but the third person narrative might be more sellable. At least to the editors. The kids I had read it loved the first person.

Well, at least now I'll be prepared for both...

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