Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WIP Wednesday #1

Before I dive into writing about my WIP, let me give credit where credit is due. I'm starting this new category of blog posts, called Work-in-Progress Wednesdays, after seeing it on Jamie's blog, and Jamie got the idea from Kate. Thanks Jamie and Kate!

My WIP status: Rewriting/revising to create my third draft. The novel is currently at 64,000 words, but I still have some major things to move around, add, remove, etc. All that fun stuff.
But, my BIGGEST WIP-related question right now is: should Through Charlotte's Eyes be in first person or third? Currently, it's in third but as I rewrite sections that voice in my head, Bob, keeps nagging me: But imagine how much more awesome that would be in FIRST person! For the life of me, I'm having the hardest time deciding...

That's where you, my lovely readers, come in! Below are two slivers of the first chapter (which might even become the opening scene). Thoughts? Reactions? Do you like one POV over the other? Or are you indifferent? Share your thoughts, please!

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3rd person:

Across the café, the man moved the newspaper from the tabletop to his lap.
Feeling the man staring at her, still, Anne sent the email to Lisa as she gulped down her coffee, despite how warm it still was. This guy had to get it through his thick skull that it was not okay to follow her.

As Anne approached him—he looked away and finally unfolded his newspaper—she realized she’d first seen him yesterday, at a bakery around the corner. Anne’s body trembled.

But the café was full of curious Parisians. She would be okay. She just had to tell him to leave her alone and that’d be that.

Qu'est-ce que c'est ce bordel? What the hell?” Anne demanded. “Just because I’m an American doesn’t mean you can stalk me.”

The man awkwardly smiled. “I am so sorry, mademoiselle,” he laughed, causing Anne’s heart to race. His accent was slightly off—but not American. “It is just, you are so striking, and now that I finally see you up close, I am sure.”

“No,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Don’t bother with the lines. I’m not interested. Got it?” She buttoned the top button of her pea coat as she turned to go.

“You misunderstand,” he called after her.

Despite the man's subdued demeanor, Anne walked away. Wind blew her hair into her eyes and mouth. She wiped at them both. She stopped an intersection, looking left, then right. He didn’t seem crazy—just odd, especially with his comment. What kind of strange pick-up line was that supposed to be? She slowly felt calmer, feeling like she’d done the right thing confronting him. He wasn’t anyone to be scared of.

“Anne Marie?” The man caught up to her.

Anne spun around. Her heart was suddenly pounding full throttle again, nervousness, like blood, surging through her veins. He knew her name. He was really stalking her. There could be no other explanation.


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1st person:

Across the café, he nervously moved the newspaper from the tabletop to his lap.

I clicked send on the email to Lisa and gulped down my coffee, ignoring how warm it still was. I had to get it through this dude's thick skull that it was not okay to keep staring at me, or to follow me from one cafe to the next.

As I sauntered over, clutching my tote bag to my side, he looked away and finally unfolded his newspaper, and I almost stopped. I'd seen him before, the day before at the bakery where I bought a croissant. I trembled - but forced myself to keep walking.

The café was full of curious Parisians, staring at me, this naive, American girl, approaching some man I didn't know. Hadn't I learned this was exactly what not to do, when I grew up in Chicago? I took a deep breath. This was different. This was Paris, and I could handle my own. I would just tell him to leave me alone and that’d be that. Simple.

Qu'est-ce que c'est ce bordel? What the hell?” I demanded. “Just because I’m an American doesn’t mean you can stalk me.”

The man awkwardly smiled. “I am so sorry, mademoiselle,” he laughed, causing my heart to jump and miss a beat. His accent was slightly off—but not American. “It is just, you are so striking, and now that I finally see you up close, I am sure.”

“No,” I groaned.“Don’t bother with the lines. I’m not interested. Got it?” I buttoned the top button of my pea coat and turned to go, thinking that was it, thinking that was all he needed to hear.

But then his low voice called out to me, beseeching, “You misunderstand.”

I continued walking away anyways, refusing to honor his stalkerish ways with one more word. The wind blew my hair into my eyes and mouth. I wiped at them both. I paused at an intersection, looking left, then right. He didn’t seem crazy—just odd, especially with his comment; what kind of strange line was that supposed to be? Definitely unlike anything I'd heard before. I slowly felt calmer, reassured by the feeling that I'd done the right thing in confronting him. He wasn’t anyone to be scared of.

“Anne Marie?” His voice, no longer carried by the wind, came from only a few steps behind me.

I spun around. My heart suddenly pounded full throttle again; nervousness, like blood, surged through my veins.

He knew my name. He really was stalking me. What other explanation could there be?

5 comments:

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Hi Liz,

Welcome to WIP Wednesday. Dropping in from Kate's. After reading both your 3rd and 1st pov excerpts, I would have to say the 1st pov works so much better. I usually don't care for 1st pov but your character sounds so much stronger in the 1st versus the 3rd. I have to agree with "bob" it does sound more awesome.

My WIP Wednesday is hereHappy Wednesday!

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Liz, great to have you taking part in WIP Wednesdays!

I am with Robin and Bob that the first person in this example read a little bit stronger.

OMG though, going through a whole novel and changing everything from third to first will be a huge project - make sure it is really what you want to do before making such a HUGE time investment!

And good luck with whatever you decide to do - hope you update next Weds, so I can find out!

Cindy said...

Hey Liz,

Wow, I normally don't like 1st person as much, but I did in this case. The writing seemed stronger, too, and I got a much better insight into the MC. Hope that helps!

Liz S said...

All of you confirmed what I'm thinking... but before I make the drastic leap of changing everything, I'm going to test this 1st person a bit more, just to make sure. Because, like you said Kate, changing POV will be a HUGE project. More details to come next Wednesday!

Thanks so much for your input!

Carla said...

Hey Liz,

This probably won't seem like much of a surprise, considering what everyone else has said... But, I like the 1st person POV a lot better. It helps me understand Anne and feel like I'm on her 'side'.


For this sentence: "The wind blew my hair into my eyes and mouth. I wiped at them both."

In your first person draft, adding these actions into a sentence telling more information might make it seem smoother. "As I wiped my wind-whipped hair from my eyes and mouth, I paused at an intersection, looking left, then right...etc..."

Although, leaving it as you currently have it written could add nicely to the overall style of your writing if you consistently insert other descriptive statements throughout the book.

:) - Thoughts from someone who has had never had a writing class and realizes this might be the silliest suggestion ever.

Carla