Emma just wouldn’t stop talking long enough for me to put my foot down. It was like I wasn’t even there anymore.
Finally, I threw my hands up in frustration and decided to turn to you, dear friends, for answers.
It started out so simple.
I’d just finished fist pumping in celebration after completing a chapter of my novel. It ended pretty dramatically, and I had already jotted down ideas for the next chapter (using a Mind Map no less: see Why A Mind Map Just Might Save Your Life for more on that).
I felt I had enough energy to get crackin’ on the next chapter, so I opened up a Word document, bit into a Kit Kat, and put fingertips to keyboard keys.
And that’s when Emma started acting up.
Aaron, who some of you may remember as the protagonist in my novel, was supposed to begin the scene; it would be told from his point of view and within the 3rd person limited perspective.
I was trying to remain consistent from my last chapter like a good ol’ chap.
But then Emma decided she didn’t want to be spoken about by Aaron. She had her own voice, and she’d be damned if some novice writer tried to stifle it.
And so she began talking. That in itself isn’t too bad. Plenty of books have been written from the perspectives of different characters, most recently The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and A Game of Thrones.
However, and this is key, she wasn’t playing nice and analyzing the world in the third person along with her fellow characters. She was going for the throat . . .
She was talking in the FIRST PERSON.
I admit, for a moment I flipped. Is this what Scorsese has to deal with whenever he tells Leonardo DeCaprio to do something?
I tried to reign Emma in; I reassured her that Aaron would put her in a good light (that might’ve been a lie, but I did plead!). She just wouldn’t listen, and the page kept filling up.
So now I sit and seek the assistance of fellow writers, fellow artists, designers, musicians, anyone who has ever created something with their hands (or feet) and felt it veer in a completely different direction:
Should I keep trying to reign her in to keep the novel consistently in the third person?
Should I let Emma have her way and see what kind of novel is produced after the first person chaos?
Admittedly, her emotions and observations are very different in tone than Aaron’s, so it also seems like a shift in genre. But the more I read it, the more pure it seems, and the more I wonder if this odd turn of events is somehow fortuitous.
Thoughts, insults, sticks and stones. I’ll take them all now.