Desolace’s First Workshop!

So as I’ve mentioned before, Desolace has been one of my projects for like, ever. It’s a science fiction, kind of dystopia but not really, with some fantasy elements thrown in. Lots of fun.

I wrote out a draft of it when I was in high school, but ultimately I ended up setting it aside. I’ve tried to go back to it multiple times, but there were some big issues with it that I wasn’t sure how to address, and so there were many times where I’d get back into it, encounter one of these problems, and then because I didn’t want to figure out how to fix it, I’d drop it again.

The last time I picked it up was around October last year. I had a solid idea for the new first chapter, so I sat down and wrote all 2300 words in one sitting. I was exhausted after, closed it, didn’t look at it again for a couple days because I got the idea out of my head and then more or less forgot about it. But when I went back and looked at it… I wowed myself. It was most definitely the best first draft of anything that I’ve ever written. I was super happy with it. And so I made plans to start the next chapter.

I had a dozen ideas, of course. From the original draft I wrote, there were two other characters whose perspectives I introduced in the first few chapters of the book, so naturally, I wanted to start chapters for them and get their stories going. So that’s what I tried. It didn’t work, and I ended up getting frustrated and stopped writing Desolace again.

I’m gonna outline some of the problems I had, now, before I go into more detail about the writing of the second chapter (which I’ve more or less decided how it’s going to go, it’s just a matter of playing around with words to get it how I want it to sound).

First of all, the story was initially written with multiple characters who had their own point of view, because that’s how I usually write. But my protagonist, Arianne, has one of the most unique voices I’ve ever written before, and so it felt wrong to write it in the third person. It had to be re-written in third person. There was no other way.

The problem that stemmed from this, though, was that I’m vehemently against novels who have multiple first-person characters. Maybe I’m just retarded when it comes to reading them, but I just can’t stand it, I tend to get confused and forget whose perspective I’m supposed to be reading the story from. So I wanted to avoid that problem with this book by having one clear protagonist who maintains the first person perspective. Now, here’s the real problem. I’d planned the book to be written in the perspective of three different characters, and since I refused to make them all first person, that left me with two options.

  1. I write them as third person perspectives and keep Arianne as the only character in the first person.
  2. I cut them altogether and keep the story completely though Arianne’s eyes

I’ll be honest– the first option is what appeals the most to me because I love these other characters and want to give them times in the spotlight. But I’ve never read a book that’s written in first person and third person, although I know they exist. I’ve added a couple that I know about to my to-read list so I can see how they flow, see if I can make it work. I honestly think this is the right way to tell the story, but writing it like that makes me worried that I’d have trouble finding a publisher for it once it’s done. So I’m not sure what to do.

For now, I’m just writing the story in Arianne’s perspective. I don’t plan on keeping it this way, but for the sake of continuing with the story and keeping up the writing, I’ve decided it’s my best option for now. It’s not like I can’t go back and add the other two perspectives once I read one of those novels and think they read well. And maybe even before I get the chance to do that I’ll break down and write one of these perspectives and just see how well the chapters tie in together. That’s what beta readers are for, right?

ANYWAY, onto the actual topic of this post. That first chapter that I wrote, I ended up cleaning it up a little bit and submitting it to one of my creative writing workshops at school. Everyone seemed to love it and wanted to read more. There were a couple problems with it, of course, but it was mostly stuff that I knew about and didn’t really have time to fix before submitting. Things like lack of definite setting, not enough context (two things I’ve yet to get right in the first draft) and some weird descriptions that were just really confusing.

But I’m really happy with that. I’m super excited to edit this piece and try again, and even better, I’m motivated to keep up with the writing and get the next chapter drafted up. So that’s what I’ve been working on. 🙂

~Erynn

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