Effulgent Corruption - Getting beaten over the face

on Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I'm still struggling with writing, not because it is bad or not plotted, but rather because work and life have been exceptionally busy of late. Because of this I actually missed writing yesterday (is kicking self over this) but I'll make up for it tonight.
I have planned basically the rest of this part, however. For those wanting a deeper look into my head: I have three viewpoint characters, each with two parts. During these parts the viewpoint never shifts, and until the end the three characters never really meet (though they are in the same world and some of their choices/actions affect the others).
My goal with each part is to tell a self-contained story that is both interesting in and of itself, rather than simply a device to move the plot for another, "more interesting" character. For example, Ciara's story, while directly tied with Drake's, needs to have its own interesting points that merit her being a viewpoint character while still supporting the overarching novel. I don't want any part to be weaker than the other, because then the character will be weaker and will be seen more as a plot device than a legitimate person.

I am wary of this for two reasons.

1. Many books that have the "three viewpoint split" often have one that is throwaway. Not to pick on Elantris because I love the book to death, but Sarene ended up seeming completely unimportant to the huge, overarching adventure that happened. She had influence and was interesting, but looking back nothing she did dramatically affected the main plot like the other two viewpoint characters (Hrathen and Raoden). Elantris isn't the exception either; most stories that split viewpoints over two usually use the others only to advance the plot for others, the "third wheel" so frequently spoken of. I am trying to avoid this at all costs.

2. Every character is a hero in their own story. Everyone always says this, but sometimes I don't see it applied as much as I would like. I want every character, even the ones who are horrible, awful people (aka Rook) to be sympathetic, interesting, and the reader to want their goals accomplished. In many book we focus on one character who is the hero; this isn't how it is in real life. Heroes of often supported by others just as heroic, and rarely do people do things "just because" to advance the "plot" of their life (or for someone else's life to be more interesting). All three of these characters need to have interesting stories, and these stories just so happen to intersect perfectly to work and make a compelling plot.

I have this issue because I started the book with only Drake's story. It wasn't until I decided on this "three VPs, two parts per VP, no crossing" that I realized that the other two need to actually be interesting and compelling. I feel it a duty as a writer to have each part be compelling and interesting in its own way, enough so that if I ask which is a favorite they'll have to pause and think a moment. For example, Drake's is a prison break story and a tale of revenge. Ciara's could be a mixture between coming of age and politics. Rook's is a bounty hunter who might also be totally insane trying to unravel an underground organization.

I really, really like this book. I know I'm tooting my own horn here, but the fact that there is so much gray and everything intersects so well just tickles me pink. I'm a huge fan of books that 1. Pull all the twists and ideas together in clever ways 2. Don't have an obvious "good" and "bad." Effulgent Corruption, in my eyes, is where my books are finally growing up. Everything up until this point has been nice, but it hasn't really...knit together in the exceptional level I find in the best fantasy novels. My goal with EC is to do just that: make everything work, fit perfectly together, and still provide a compelling and interesting story.

This is a ramble, so I apologize for forcing you to partake in my self-loving indulgences. I just need to be more excited about writing, and stop worrying about messing it up. :P

Lastly, I'm almost certain Effulgent Corruption will merit a sequel, or even a series of novels (assuming someone decides to buy it). The ending (well, the planned one) both closes the current threads and opens up new cans of worms that need to be addressed later. We'll see.

That's all from me for now. Expect more writing and less whining in the future.

P.S. I bought a special present for myself that might also motivate writing, but I'm not going to say what it is. I'll take pictures, though, once I have it all straightened out. :P


Jason L Secrest said...

You told me this mysterious object was expensive, and you're one cheep son of a very nice lady, so it's probably something that's normally super expensive, and I'm already jealous.

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