Funny how one can simultaneously wish for more interaction and less. Perhaps we all have a little of the cat in us– wanting in as soon as we’ve been let out and wanting out as soon as we’ve been let in. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, it’s hard not to feel a little stuck, as so many of us are. And my day job is considered essential, so I’m even getting out of the house.
It’s also funny to note that my day to day schedule hasn’t actually changed all that much, as I’m an introverted homebody by nature, so this whole “staying in” thing is pretty much business as normal. Apparently I just don’t like being told to do it.
… so that could be something I need to work on. At least I’ve got the time for it!
The first is that since we are creatures built for community, and that God often gives us the support we need in the form of each other, the social distancing thing is particularly painful. While in other times of crisis we can and often do spend more time in each other’s company, we can’t and shouldn’t be doing that right now. At least not physically.
Which brings us nicely to my second thought, which is this: We have never before been able to remain so connected while isolating ourselves. And that’s a huge mercy. We have video chats. We have Facebook. We have phones. We have multiplayer videogames. If anything, the irony in this is that in some ways, we feel more connected than we usually do. Thank God for the Internet, my friends.
When I first moved down to Southern California, fresh from Idaho with its four very obvious seasons, I had a hard time believing that the Golden State had anything remotely similar. This place is, after all, a land of sun, sun, and more sun. (And also fire.) It’s not without its charm, but for someone who grew up with temperatures that could range from sub-zero to above a hundred over the course of the year, it was difficult to see.
I say “was” because I have since gotten to the point where I can recognize what passes for the different seasons down here. Winter sees nighttime temperatures occasionally drop down into the thirties. Springtime is warm, but not yet ridiculously hot. Summer is ridiculously hot. Fall oscillates between hot and cooler, with a slight crisp to the air and a different smell. It’s not the same, but I can appreciate it.
Even if I do still think that anything above seventy five is officially Too Hot.
(Also! Update on That Story That Was Supposed To Be Posted Last Week– it got into a fight with me. Or I got into a fight with it. Hence why it’s delayed. But! It’s halfway done and should go up this week. Thanks for sticking with me!)
Sometimes, I’ve noticed that certain stories demand a particular point of view in their telling. I can try to write them from a different viewpoint, but it doesn’t do any good; the words just won’t come. And it’s not just a matter of my being more comfortable with one over another, because despite the fact that I naturally tend to gravitate towards first-person-snarky, I’ve had an easy enough time writing stories in either first or third person. Some stories just need one or the other.
The example that most readily comes to mind is my modern urban (rural?) werewolf story that I’ve being toying around with to various degrees for years. I managed about 10,000 words on it, all in first person, but ended up getting stuck due to a lack of planning. So, I made it my NaNo project a few years back, but made the mistake of trying to switch it to third person. What followed was one of the most difficult NaNos of my life. The thing just would. not. write. To the point where I ended up burning out on the project, more or less.* Similarly, my rough draft fantasy novel from a few years ago, with its ensemble cast and epic stakes, was a better fit for a third person telling.
Now! Before someone goes for the torches and the pitchforks, let me state for the record that my saying that I can’t write a certain story from a certain point of view doesn’t mean that I think that it can’t be done. I have no doubt that someone can write a compelling epic fantasy from the first person (like The Black Company, for instance), I’m just not there myself. And besides, my epic fantasy is its own story, not the same one as The Black Company, so naturally, what works for one might not work for the other anyways. But that’s a subject for a different post.
It’s also interesting to note that, like its setting, a story’s point of view has a profound effect on the final story. Which explains why the wrong voice makes it so hard to write the story at all. The voice provides the overall atmosphere to the story, and if the atmosphere doesn’t match the content, the whole story is going to feel off. It’s like that scary recut of the Mary Poppins trailer (click here to see it); great for a one-off joke bit, but not an effective way to tell the original story.
Anyway! All that to say that I’ve found certain stories that I can’t tell with one point-of-view or another, and that it’s amazing how much easier it gets to write when you find the right voice for the tale. Which is why it’s so nice to write the Tanner and Miranda stories, because I know the voice that works for them, and I find it a fun one to use.
Speaking of, keep your eyes open for a new story (a Tanner and Miranda adventure!) going up tomorrow! Also, since I, heh, missed posting not one but two stories last month, you’ll get a couple of extras this month to make up for it. Until then, drop a comment below to share your own voice/writing related curiosities! **Edit: I lied! Not tomorrow– but check back on Saturday, March 7!
* Granted, there were other problems, too. Like the fact that I didn’t have a clear idea of the story I wanted to tell. You know, minor things.