Adventures in the 3rd Person – Watercolors and Oils

Let Me Tell You a Story

I suppose it seems odd to go on about writing in the 3rd person as some sort of apocalyptic undertaking, but if I didn’t make it so melodramatic it would be ungodly boring, or even more ungodly boring.

So I was thinking it was maybe easier to explain in a more concrete art form example. Like take painting. If I have spent years making paintings with water colors, and then decided I wanted to paint with oils, that’s pretty big shift. I would assume that some create need inside me is driving to explore this option, but nonetheless it is a stepping out of the comfort zone. But it’s a stepping out of a technical comfort zone more than a creative one, though hopefully some creative shenanigans occur as well.

So it’s technical challenge, or a medium shift, if you will. I’m not a technical-minded person though. Any technical skills I have in any area of life are more a result of the pursuing of a creative goal and not a pursuit of technical mastery. And in this case, the goal is perhaps a new or expanded opportunity for expression, and I shall have to muddle through the technical differences and challenges.

So far the matter at hand I have been pondering narrative options. I’m not a expert in narrative styles so I am sure I don’t know the correct terminology so bear with my nomenclature butcherings.

So trying to explore the options that might best fit the theme and main characters of the new venture. Recalling that the theme is memory and there are for now two main characters, the ghost and the girl.

I might need a relatively omniscient narrator giving that we will probably be travelling back in time so someone’s going to have to know something about many things. I’m afraid of the completely omniscient narrator because I have a feeling I’d just immediately dump all the information about the situation and basically ruin my own story (you know like those bad movie trailers that reveal so much there’s no reason to watch the movie). I am so used to writing almost stream of conscious style and letting the main character follow whatever thread they want that I won’t be able to hold myself back. But I suppose that’s what a second draft is for: Remove the shit you shouldn’t have included. So maybe I could save the story from me.

I know there’s this POV method where the narrative style and what the narrator might know is based on the main character focused on in a given chapter. No idea what that is called. Though the current basis of the story has only two main characters, maybe I can do that. I’d have to create two different voices, which would be new and I suppose I could so. For me, maintaining the uniqueness of each voice might be hard. It’s almost like multitasking and I’m terrible at that. And while one of the goals of the project is to beak new ground, not sure I want to break ground with the dullest tool in the shed.

I suspect honing that dull tool might be good for me if I were a craftsman, but I am pretty sure I would not enjoy it. I like to woodworking and that can mean a lot of things. Like there are a lot of cool things you can do with chisels when working on projects. But you know what I really don’t enjoy? Sharpening chisels. Know thyself.

I did ponder the idea of an unreliable narrator. I love a good unreliable narrator (Grace from “Alias Grace” by Margaret Atwood). But since I’m slow it took me a while to figure out most unreliable narrators are first person. Though I suppose you could have an unreliable omniscient narrator, though I suppose all omniscient narrators are unreliable in that they manipulate and control what they tell you. Though that seems like a philosophical argument I’m not equipped to engage in so we’ll leave that alone. Anyway, even if I wanted to do an unreliable narrator I don’t think I could. I’m too simple and naïve.

I kind of forgot the point I was trying to make. Perhaps it’s that maybe I’ll let the character decide what is necessary. So I guess that means thinking about the characters next. This is a crooked path for sure.

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