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spiralheart
June 5th, 2007, 11:21 AM
What do you do with first-person material from your characters?

I know I'm not the only one who has this occur. You write a page out, and it's the main character (for example) chattering away about his woes and his problems with the substance of this world. Sure, you might get some plot in there, some events or people that he has run across.

But it is more a blob of words than something I'd be able to mold into my omniscient narrative in a story. So, my question is: Do you draw something from that blob? Do you put it away, and tell the character to shut up already? What's your strategy?

BrianC
June 5th, 2007, 12:10 PM
Give us an example of what you mean. Something not too long, but something to look at and talk about.

spiralheart
June 5th, 2007, 01:10 PM
Give us an example of what you mean. Something not too long, but something to look at and talk about.

Okay. There are three I can chose from, BrianC. But these pieces made some sense to me.

How do I know these things? Why was I chosen, or tapped as they say? Why me, Kevin Carlisle, the thief, cheat, liar and miscreant? The failed and failing stand-up comedian? Why not some saint in the bowels of Calcutta or the Dalai Lama?

Am I alive or dead? What do those words mean, really? How am I still able to think and move around? I certainly don't have a handle on it.

They tell me there is a way to do it. But what if I'm not the right one to do it? I don't know the answer yet. And that's the truth.

Paul Prentiss aside, I wanted to change the world. To change the lives of the people I knew, in a positive way. But I couldn't see past my own nose. My life was complicated by lies and by getting mad at things. They say that's just fear, held in.

So, you want to see me bleed, you want the guts spilled from something alive and writhing? Alright, I can give you that. I can give all I am and all I have. What do I have to lose? I'm not going to live forever, am I?

Miriamele
June 5th, 2007, 03:53 PM
So you have these lines written in first person, but your narrative is in omniscient third person?

If those lines don't all go together, but are thoughts that your character thinks to himself at different times, why can't you just have him, well, think them? In italics, as you have written here?

Is there another character your main character could say these things to?

Really though, I don't see any problem including these thoughts as just that. I have my characters thinking stuff like that all the time and I never write in first person.

spiralheart
June 5th, 2007, 05:04 PM
Thanks! I must admit, I did toy with the words a little. So, it isn't as raw and jumbled as what first came out.

Now, that stuff. That's the nightmare. ;)

spiralhearT

James Carmack
June 5th, 2007, 08:56 PM
I'm with Miriamele. I don't see what the problem is. Soliloquies certainly have their time and place. We really won't know how well it actually works until we see it in context. The Venus de Milo looks fine on its own, but is going to be a little misplaced in An-Najaf. Similarly, this little soliloquy is fine on its own, but may be totally inappropriate where you put it in the story.

BrianC
June 6th, 2007, 07:59 AM
I don't see a major problem with this either. It depends a good bit on how it fits into the larger story, too much internal dialogue can disrupt the flow of the story, but this does not seem all that excessive. The one criticism that I would make is that you have some repetition here, with the same thought being stated twice in a row in only slightly different ways, and if you need to trim a bit I would look at that.

spiralheart
June 6th, 2007, 12:28 PM
Thanks to everyone for their comments.

The soliloquys have become more of the novel's skeleton, a loose outline to the story. Eventually, about three books will spring from Jupiter's brow. No, Kevin's and a couple of the other main characters, really.

I'm weaving in some of it as italicized monologues sparingly.

Fair enough, BrianC. The thing with Kevin is, he goes in circles when he thinks. It's repetitious and tedious sometimes. But he can't do otherwise. It's who he is right now.

James Carmack
June 6th, 2007, 08:11 PM
As long as you're conscious of the fact, there's no problem. That's a critical element to writing, the awareness of the writer. As long as you know what you're doing, you can defend it. There is, of course, no fault on Brian for pointing it out. After all, it's all too easy for us to veer off the road when we take our hands off the wheel and let the car drive itself.

spiralheart
June 6th, 2007, 08:41 PM
As long as you're conscious of the fact, there's no problem. .... After all, it's all too easy for us to veer off the road when we take our hands off the wheel and let the car drive itself.

You're right about this, both of you are. A friend asked me the other day, "Kevin's still the protagonist? Are you sure?" I admit there isn't much reason to like him.

I'm in control here, to the extent that I pay for the gas the car runs on, I maintain it. Why do the the roads have to run through such mountainous territory, though?