Sometimes writers get stuck. Sometimes we don’t think we’re stuck, but what we’ve done is accidentally patched a hole in our road, when actually we needed new paving altogether. And sometimes, we just get bored with the direction we’re going and are looking for something new to play with.
In all of these cases, what might help is a little change in perspective.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve gotten from my writing peers and mentors so far has been to consider my work from various angles when I run into unforeseen bumps.
I experienced this first hand when my originally third-person manuscript turned into a first-person narrative after having written more than a hundred pages of the first draft. What made me change was realising that the story I was trying to get at actually belonged to my main character and could only be told in its truest form from her own mouth. However, as the second draft progressed, I realised this shift in angles could be applied to smaller problems as well.
When a particular plot tangle came up recently, a friend in my weekly writing group encouraged me to not only consider how the other characters would view the situation, but to take the time to write it out, even developing their reactions as complimentary short stories.
This method ended up having three benefits:
1) I solved my initial plot hole with far more ease and sense than I would have had I simply sketched out the situation in my head.
2) Because I managed to get in the head of one of the characters I rarely “speak to,” I learned a lot of secrets that would have normally stayed hidden and ended up laying the groundwork for the next two books!
3) I had tons of fun! Even though I was the one who wrote them, “talking” to characters I don’t normally spend time with was refreshing and fuelled me up for the next step of the journey….editing!
Have you ever had experience switching points of view or finding a new perspective? Did it lead to an entire change in your manuscript, as it did with my first draft, or simply an ironing out of a little bump? Did you enjoy the process, or find it more tedious?
Let me know!