On Monday, Admiration was posted on the Six Sentences website. Admiration was inspired by my recent trip to meet William Shatner. I say 'meet' loosely, as in truth it was more a hello, signature, and goodbye. Whilst I was queuing up to meet one of the earliest crushes I remember having (aged ten, I believe), I got to thinking about the other people in the queue. Why where they here? What were their motives? Was it like me, to meet an actor that, through his great roles, had brought a lot of enjoyment into my life? Or, what if they'd never got over their childhood crush? What if they believed they had some kind of a relationship with this actor, but one that existed only in their mind? Admiration is my take on this latter, more sinister, fan.
Also on Monday, I received an email from the editor of Creepy Things confirming my short story, Feeding Walter, had been accepted for the anthology. I was particularly pleased about this acceptance, because I struggled with viewpoint whilst writing it. I had the basic plot in my head - without giving too much away, the story involves a married couple and the husband's pet Tarantula, and there are three separate scenes - but I knew that for it to work, I'd have to write the story in third person viewpoint. The problem is that I prefer to write in first person.
I'm much better at writing in first person. Looking back over my acceptances to date, the majority of them are written this way. I think the reason for this is that one of my weaknesses as a writer is description. By writing in first person I can describe everything in detail, as if I were looking through the characters eyes. For some reason, I find this much easier to do than if the narrator is outside of the characters.
The first scene was not a problem, as it involved the husband and wife, and I was able to use dialogue to carry the story forward. However, the next two scenes featured only one of the characters in each scene. When I read through my first draft, it was full of "he did this" and "she did that" type sentences. Boring. Lazy writing. My solution was to put the story aside for a week and return to it with a fresh pair of eyes. I rewrote the story, and redrafted as many of the offending sentences as possible. I couldn't remove them all, but I felt happy enough to submit it. Thankfully, the editor liked it.
I’m interested to know if other writers struggle with these viewpoint dilemmas. Which viewpoints to you prefer to write in or are you happy to write in any viewpoint? Have you had more success with a particular viewpoint? If so, why do you think that is the case?