So, we’ve come to the end of the journey. Or at least a junction. It is time to reflect, and this is what I’ve concluded so far.
I wrote at the start of this series that I considered myself to be a macro reader – i.e. a reader who could gloss over excessive POVs and literary errors. It’s the story that’s important, right? And I want to see as much action as possible in a palatable manner.
It turns out this is bollocks.
I thought I was a macro reader because I was able to read books without seeing the finicky little problems that may exist. But herein lies the bollocks. Now that I know about the problems, I see them everywhere, and they annoy me. So actually, I wasn’t a macro reader at all. I was ignorantly tolerant.
And with my new Deep POV hat on, I can’t be ignorantly tolerant anymore. Certainly not with my own work, and less so with the work of others too. It’s a bit like tasting better beer, or coffee, or whatever. Once you’ve tried the good stuff, you won’t go back.
How’s Mandestroy looking?
I always thought Mandestroy was pretty decent, and I think I still do. I’ve had some nice reviews (a few less favourable too!), and the Deep POV overhaul worked more naturally because of the single POV. Having reflected objectively on the book, it is a bit specialist, particularly the opening prologue (a marmite section) and with the wrapper format, but I like it. I think I’m going to let it lie. That book has sailed (so to speak).
I concluded back in an earlier blog that I could restrict FU to three POVs – Anejo, Keles, and Kantal. Well, I’ve changed my mind.
What this actually needs to be is a single POV. This was always Anejo’s story, and by including more POVs, it’s diluted her role to the detriment of even her character. I now think I need to pare this right back and weave the challenges around her – let her shine so to speak. So that’s what I’m going to do.
I will probably also rewrite other POVs at some point too, but I’ll keep these as additional voluntary books. Nice and clean.
And once this is pared back to Anejo’s story, the whole flow changes and I find myself needing to end at a different spot. The long and short is that this is now a longer series focused solely on Anejo. That’s a lot of rewrite.
The other interesting thing about FU is that I always thought the early chapters were weaker and that the book strengthened as it went on. I rewrote the first parts numerous times, but the perception persisted. Eventually I just gave up and published.
Well, I’ve now done full Deep POV analysis and I can chart the Deep POV errors over the course of the book. This is how it looks:
Don’t worry about this chart too much. Concentrate on the red line, and the fact that it slopes downwards. The red line basically records errors as a %age of sentences by chapter, and you’ll see that the earlier chapters are more error heavy than the later chapters. That’s the basic conclusion. The lighter lines behind the scenes break this down by error ‘category’ (plotted on the secondary axis).
So, in summary, the first 10% seemed weaker because it was. And remember: although FU was never written with Deep POV in mind, a lot of what’s called out in Marcy’s Deep POV book is actually just good writing practice. Showing vs. Telling is not a Deep POV thing.
So what do we conclude? I feel a rewrite coming on. And it feels like it will be at least a 70% rewrite. Oh well.
So what about Deep POV?
Do I need it? Well, this is where I am at. I am deeply grateful for the lessons taught to me in Marcy’s little book. They really moved my writing craft along, and it was an incredible little investment.
But do I need Deep POV? I still conclude: not necessarily. Enough is done in the fantasy genre that doesn’t comply that I can’t conclude definitively yes, so I am left with two key reasons to consider it:
- It could be a genre USP of some sort. I doubt I’ll be unique in using the techniques, but probably in the minority; and
- More importantly, it could be my natural style.
But is it my natural style? Well I’ve never considered myself to have a style, until recently…
I wrote this little book for NaNoWriMo. It is probably a rom-com, so entirely out of my genre-taste. I never thought I’d get much out of it (I wrote it mainly for my wife because she’s not a fantasy fan), but I re-read it towards the end of last year and ended up really liking it. This is why I think I liked it.
With no preconceptions for what it was going to be, I just ended up writing naturally. Pure unfiltered writing, with no pressure and no expectations. And the funny thing was that it was much easier on the palate than both FU and Mandestroy. So from this I conclude that natural = better. Obvious really.
But interestingly, it did also feel decidedly Deep POV in that raw text. It didn’t tick all the boxes and threw up plenty of errors, but it did have that close proximity sense.
So perhaps that’s the answer? I have a natural style, and that style tends towards Deep POV. If this is true, it would seem churlish to deny this fact, wouldn’t it? I think Deep POV is here to stay in my writing.
So that’s the end of the road, right?
What have I done? I’ve thought about POVs and applied lots of the little tests in Marcy’s book. I’ve been through the whole of FU and Mandestroy, and re-edited from the ground up. So that’s it right? They’re now perfect (subject to the full rewrite I plan for FU)?
Far from it. Prose may meet the Deep POV standards, but that doesn’t mean it’s good! FU in particular left me pretty cold when I re-read it, so now I need to know why. I have an idea, but you’ll have to wait until next year to hear my thoughts. There’s still a lot to learn, but that’s why writing’s fun! Or so I keep telling myself.