Thursday, December 08, 2005

Revisions and outline

I just finished the latest round of revisions (hopefully the penultimate round, or at least the pen-penultimate) for The Eyes of Crow. Once again, I made a lot of changes to the second half of the book, and for the first time since the very first draft, I'm really happy with the novel as it stands. I've finally accomplished everything I wanted to do with it*, even finding a way to show a battle scene first-hand from a non-combatant's point of view.

So I'm putting it aside for a few days while I work on the outline for Book 2 of the series, The Voice of Crow. Creating an outline for an unwritten novel mostly involves sitting around and staring into space, asking, "What if?" Yes, I get paid to daydream, and yes, I do know how lucky I am.

The series proposal I submitted to Luna included a detailed outline of the first book and rough, one-paragraph outlines of the second and third. The second book called for the death of one of the main characters. After spending several months with this person, there's no way in hell I'm killing them. Not no way, not no how.

I'm also splitting the point-of-view (POV) among three characters in the second book, whereas Eyes is from the POV of the heroine only. I prefer a single POV in both reading and writing, because it provides greater psychological intimacy, but the story in Voice demands to be told by more than one character, one of whom will be in a different part of the world than the rest of the main cast. In my opinion, Story should determine Style.

I suppose at some point I should stop talking about the outline and go write it. Maybe that point is now.

*except write a drinking song

Labels: ,


"...even finding a way to show a battle scene first-hand from a non-combatant's point of view."

Excellent! Can't wait to see how you solved that one!

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 12/09/2005 11:36 AM

Rob, it was your suggestion that prompted it. I always felt like the battle scene lacked a certain immediacy, and figured it was important, like you said, to see how the different types and levels of warriors fought. I decided to make the Wolverines, since they're so strong and ballsy, extremely-close-combat warriors, which means they don't need no pansy-assed swords to keep the enemy at arm's length. Daggers, baby!

Now I've got a scene that makes Braveheart look like a Band-Aid ad.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 12/09/2005 12:12 PM

Split POVs is very PoMO.


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 12/09/2005 3:52 PM

Er, really? I guess it depends what you do with them, but they're very common in epic fantasy, which in most cases is not post-modern. And for that matter, most romances contain both the hero and heroine's POVs. So I'm not sure I agree with the English professor unless she 'splains some more.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 12/09/2005 5:03 PM

I can't wait to read this, Jeri. Great, great story.

As for #2 and 3? Wow! I can't wait for those either.

Many crows up here in Jersey and I think of you or Jethro Tull because they have a song called, "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow."

Oh, we got plenty from Jack today. A foot's worth.



Posted by: Blogger moonhart at 12/09/2005 9:08 PM

Multiple POVs are the heart of Rashomon. Not a half-bad movie, even tho' it's not stf.

Interesting for the reader to see how different people interpret and react to the same things. Also more realistic since one person seldom actually sees everything that happens.

Jim Young

Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 12/09/2005 9:15 PM

True, Jim, but it's rare to see that played out in fiction (the same scene or instance from more than one POV), because it would slow down the narrative. A great example of a Rashomon-type sequence in a novel is The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. The first series of scenes takes place from 3 different characters' viewpoints. Such a great book.

Maybe there's a distinction between "split POV" and "multiple POV" that I'm not aware of.

I'm disappointed when two or more POVs are written in the same style, with the same voice. I think even when the narrative is third person, the style should reflect the character whose POV it is. I don't know if that makes it postmodern or just better crafted.

Personally, as a reader I don't like having more information than the main character does. For instance, getting the bad guy's POV and knowing what he's going to do next decreases the tension for me. Hitchcock would disagree, because he said suspense was all about knowing the bomb was under the desk AND realizing that the character didn't know it was there.

Sometimes I think multiple POVs are used out of laziness, especially when their # runs into double digits. At that point I'm spending so little time in the head of any one character (unless it's a gargantuan book like The Stand) that I can't connect with any of them.

Enough rambling. Again, these are just my personal prefs as a reader, which translate into what I like to write as well.

Terri, thanks! It's changed a bit since you read Draft #2, but I think you'll still like it.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 12/09/2005 10:42 PM

No need to agree with me. Like so many "new" ideas, this one's rather old. For instance, when the novel form was first being worked out, novels usually took the epistolary form, ie.a series of letters written between characters. Richardson wrote many of these, including one called Cecilia. This allowed a kind of multiple POV. I found all these novels painful, but that's just me. 17th century poetry is wonderful, but 17th century novels!

You can even see a little of this POV being worked out in Shakespearian drama, whenever there's a solllioquy by a character other than the portagonist, though the POV in all drama is, rightly, the dramatic POV, which means no one POV dominates, and the only POV the audience has is what's presented on stage.

Any wqay, I've slipped into pendantic mode. Sorry.


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 12/10/2005 9:13 AM

I'm not always disappointed to see similar styles for different POVs. It all depends, to me, on how omniscient the narration is. First pirson POV should be, naturally, very individual. But third-person narration with different POVs can work well with little or no differentiation in voice -- even though what the individual characters might notice and find important could vary widely.

And I'm looking forward to the Wolverine smackdown. And I have a guess as to how you managed to show it to us, although I'll hold off making that guess in public and send you an email a little later.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 12/10/2005 3:11 PM

um.. that's "person." And maybe not as many "ands" in the second paragraph would be nice too.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 12/10/2005 3:12 PM

Post a Comment


This Side of Salvation

This Side of Salvation, Jeri's new contemporary YA novel!

Now available in hardcover and ebook.

“A smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self.” —Booklist, **Starred Review**


Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or



"Shattered," a Shade novella!

Available here on this website as a free download in all major ebook formats, as well as a printable PDF (now with photos!).

More about "Shattered"

About the author

Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

Learn more about Jeri...

Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

Sign up for Jeri's newsletter

  • First draft of secret new project

Current Reads