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Thread: Novel openings

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    While I don't agree with Emma Sohan's views on POV, I do struggle with novels told from the perspective of animals, small children, or any other character who is physically incapable of expressing complex thoughts and yet whose thoughts are expressed at this level of emotional and/or intellectual sophistication. I had this issue with Black Beauty. I had this issue with Watership Down. I had it with Cujo and Gerald's Game. And in the interest of 'full disclosure' yeah, I have it with this. I tend to avoid 'animal books' for this reason.

    The story is third person so all that is less of an issue than if it was first person, to be sure, but I do find it difficult to get a clear idea of the narrative voice when it is intimate enough with the dog to know the dog's innermost thoughts and yet clearly Not The Dog - or if it is supposed to be, on some level, a manifestation of Dog Consciousness it does not work. On the other hand, I am not entirely sure how better to write this sort of thing. If we were going to adopt the kind of narrative puritanism Emma seems to be advocating it will be impossible to write this story.

    To me this then becomes an exercise in suspension-of-disbelief regarding the authenticity of voice, which is a challenging one. Challenging but doable and only pays off if it is handled with absolute competency. I think you do it well. I don't see any major issues with this as a beginning. I feel I get a very clear indication of the themes of this story, which are actually quite conventional in the 'abuse' genre. The motif of an idyllic dream juxtaposed with a hellish reality is nothing new. Which leads me to question what it is that makes this feel original (because it does) and I suspect it probably is the infusion of what feels like a human situation described in a human voice but applied to a dog. If this was not a dog but a child or a woman I probably wouldn't care for it much.

    Which leads me to think that maybe the voice isn't actually that important if the character and situation is strong enough. In such a case, the voice becomes passive. Almost unnoticeable as it simply functions to impart descriptions and information with indifference to the plausibility of POV.
    Thanks, Lucky. Just to clarify, there very few scenes in the book written from the perspective of the dog. I don't have the writing chops to pull off an entire novel from that perspective. The story is actually about a kidnapped boy of about 12 who ends up with Chase in the hands of a serial killer. I tell people the book is a cross between Old Yeller and Criminal Minds. It's written in 3rd limited and I head-hop frequently.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

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  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    If we were going to adopt the kind of narrative puritanism Emma seems to be advocating it will be impossible to write this story.
    Narrative Puritanism! I want to do it. A Scarlet I for inconsistency?

    However, lots of people have written books without obvious inconsistencies in POV or confusing me. So that can't be too limiting. And I think we in reality need to be tolerant of Nora Roberts (as opposed to, say, making her wear a Scarlet H). And if the readers liked Terry's portrayal, that's all that matters.
    Last edited by EmmaSohan; February 14th, 2019 at 05:42 PM.
    Latest writing advice: Hidden Content .

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by EmmaSohan View Post
    Narrative Puritanism! I want to do it. A Scarlet I for inconsistency?

    However, lots of people have written books without obvious inconsistencies in POV or confusing me. So that can't be too limiting. And I think we in reality need to be tolerant of Nora Roberts (as opposed to, say, making her wear a Scarlet H). And if the readers liked Terry's portrayal, that's all that matters.
    My point is really that there's an obvious (to me anyway) difference between 'inconsistent POV' and 'head hopping'.

    I think that's mostly a matter of subjective judgement, whether the writer was able to sustain credibility despite issues with continuity or whether dogs have capacity for abstract terms like 'enclosure' or 'loving'.

    In this case I think Terry gets it right. I don't tend to question narrative on the basis of whether it is inconsistent or not. I don't see a strong link (or any link really) between definition of POV and quality of writing provided I maintain faith that the writer knows what they are doing and that there's nothing to disrupt the story's flow. So those kinds of criticisms don't mean much to me, even if they are 'correct'.
    Last edited by luckyscars; Yesterday at 09:36 AM.
    "All good books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened."

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  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry D View Post
    Thanks, Lucky. Just to clarify, there very few scenes in the book written from the perspective of the dog. I don't have the writing chops to pull off an entire novel from that perspective. The story is actually about a kidnapped boy of about 12 who ends up with Chase in the hands of a serial killer. I tell people the book is a cross between Old Yeller and Criminal Minds. It's written in 3rd limited and I head-hop frequently.
    Sounds good. Found it on Amazon. I'll pick it up with my Kindle Unlimited.
    "All good books have one thing in common - they are truer than if they had really happened."

    Hidden Content



  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    Sounds good. Found it on Amazon. I'll pick it up with my Kindle Unlimited.
    I'd love to hear what you think. Thanks.
    “Fools” said I, “You do not know
    Silence like a cancer grows
    Hear my words that I might teach you
    Take my arms that I might reach you”
    But my words like silent raindrops fell
    And echoed in the wells of silence : Simon & Garfunkel


    Those who enjoy stirring the chamber-pot should be required to lick the spoon.

    Our job as writers is to make readers dream, to infiltrate their minds with our words and create a new reality; a reality not theirs, and not ours, but a new, unique combination of both.

    Visit Amazon and the Kindle Store to check out Reflections in a Black Mirror, and Chase

    Hidden Content






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