Today, I have started several fiction posts, trying to force myself into the moment and flex my fiction writing muscles. My muscles, apparently, are tired. Another problem I am facing is the fact that I can’t seem to get Jayne and her story out of my head, not even long enough to write about the beach.
One of the decisions I am trying to make about my novel is whether I want to write it in first person or third. I’ve been going through some of the scenes and writing them both ways as I try to decide. It isn’t helping that I can’t seem to decide on an age for my character. Maybe Jayne has taken up residence in my brain too long, so now she is growing up. Who knows. Both of the following excerpts are from when I imagined Jayne to be a little younger, eleven or twelve years old.
So, first and third person choices are being made. You know the pros and cons of each. Third person gives me a little distance and allows me to show the reader more. First person allows both myself and the reader to feel like we are the character, taking over the adventure. We get to become Jayne. First person is definitely harder for me to write, so it would take some practice to get good at it. Here is one of the scenes that I have written both ways.
I was sitting calmly on the top of the monkey bars, looking over my shoulder every once in a while to make sure that none of the teachers were watching. Mrs. Walker, the sixth grade teacher, had already told me several times to get down, and I didn’t want to spend recess inside because I got caught.
The monkey bars reminded me of the loft in my old barn. I could see the entire playground from where I sat, and that’s why I noticed Reagan James and his dumb friends walking toward August. August had reddish brown, wavy hair and pale skin. Like me, he found a spot on the playground out of the way, except he was hiding from Raegan while I was watching for adventure. He had his back to the corner where the fence met the building, his knees pulled up close to his body. He was looking at his lap, and I could barely see the corners of a book poking out on either side of his leg. No wonder he’s getting picked on, I thought as I watched.
Jayne sat on the middle rung of the monkey bars, looking over her shoulder towards the teachers every couple of moments. Her long, brown pony tail looked like an actual pony’s tail, think and coarse, barely moving in the gusts of wind. Even though she was a true daredevil, she didn’t want to get caught my Mrs. Walker, who only ever gets on to her.
Jayne leaned back, turning her face towards the sun and breathing deeply. The suburbs smelled very different from her farm in the country. When she opened her eyes to do another teacher check, she noticed Raegan Jones walking gorilla-style towards the corner where the fence met the building. Raegan was mean, but Jayne hadn’t figured out why yet.
When Jayne realized who Raegan was walking towards, she tensed. August was sitting in the corner, absorbed in a book… _________________________________________________________________________
These are just very small snippets. As I typed them out, I noticed how much detail they lacked, and how much telling I was doing in first person land. There is a balance and I need to choose soon. The time to really start writing is upon me!
Happy Friday my friends! I’m ready for the weekend!