Changing narration style(5 Posts)
I have been working on a novel for the past three years, a hobby, more than anything- but I managed to finish it in the past few months and I'm thinking about approaching an agent.
A friend who is a literary editor by trade has read it, has said it shows promise, the genre is fashionable and the plot interesting but my narrative style is causing it to lack pace. My protagonist is unlikeable, and it is hard to go on the journey with her. It's currently third person limited, the story is told from her POV. You do not 'see' anything that she doesn't see, you perceive situations the way that she perceives it.
She has advised that I introduce a alternating POV system, and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. It would provide a medium to make my character redeem herself in the eyes of others, and to expand my story.
The only thing that is stopping me is the fact that I am a huge GRRM fan, and it just feels like I am magpieing too much from ASOIAF. My book is feudal-based YA political fiction, which makes me even more away of feeling like a bit of a copy cat.
Any advice appreciated, would be really interested to hear from people who have changed their narration style.
I think in an author's first book you're most likely to see their literary influences, so unless it's really obvious, I wouldn't worry too much about that.
I've only written in the first person, so I'm not much use, I'm afraid. You are really lucky to have a friend who can give you such expert advice.
Essentially, your friend is suggesting a change in structure.
IMVHO the structure of a novel is the single most important decision a writer can take. It impacts everything ( plot, characterisation, time etc).
I suppose the first question you need to ask yourself is why you didn't choose an alternating POV structure off the bat?
Then having answered that question, ask what you think a new structure will bring.
Listen to your friend, especially if you are a new author.
I wouldn't be put off by feeling like a copycat. It's hardly as if GRRM is the only person ever to write from lots of viewpoints.
If this feels right to you, have a go. Don't be put off by it feeling like a big task - you will be able to see a few chapters in whether it is achieving all it promises. You can always stop if it doesn't - it's not like you won't have saved a copy of the original version
If you're not convinced you could always try sending out a first round of submissions as it stands and then see what they say. If you just come back with nothing but form rejections it will be clear you need to do something quite major to it anyway. It would be quicker to just get on with having a go and seeing, though.
Sometimes you do something like that and it's like a lightbulb switching on. I have been doing samples for a publisher for a publisher-led writing job that I'm hoping to get, and I have made the switch to alternating POVs and slightly more omniscient narration than the very close 3rd person I did my first sample with, and it's absolutely clear to me that it's better - it's giving me the scope for more plot twists, dramatic irony, and variety of backdrop, as well as being considerably more fun to write. (Just have to hope the publisher agrees )
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