Perspective is an interesting thing. If you’re writing in first person or personalised third person, it’s easy to only see the story from your MC’s view. You consider other characters’ point of view and their reactions, but it's not until recently that I've realised how limited this can be.
There have been so many times during editing where I’ve thought of another scene or additional information I would love to include, but because it is about my MC or separate from my MC’s story, I can’t always include it. While scenes like this can be annoying to think of – as you can’t give any context to the reader, only yourself – it is good for adding in details and as a basis for major/minor characters which may have otherwise been left out.
To treat myself after working so hard to get my second draft finished, which included a lot of rewriting, chopping and changing scenes, I’m currently writing something connected but different. It’s RW rewritten – in the perspective of another character. Not only this, but the major character whose POV I’m writing is male rather than female like my protagonist. It was an idea which kept bugging me during editing; I kept thinking of what he would think about during a certain scene or secret conversations my MC couldn’t be party to.
I thought it would be harder to write than it is. Actually, it's one of the easiest things I've ever written. Probably because I don't have to think too much about plot line - I've already created it. All I have to do is add in a few extra scenes and rewrite some conversations from his perspective, which has been incredibly fun to do. But I’ve learnt so much more about my characters this past week whilst writing. Not just the character I’m writing in – I’m writing it in first person like RW – but other minor characters I may not have focused on as much before. I can’t believe how much I’m discovering about them that I never knew! It seems crazy to only be finding this out now, seeing as my next project I want to tackle is the third and final novel in the series.
This will only make editing the second novel in the series easier. I'll have a better idea of their motivation, and I'll be more considerate to other characters' thoughts. I retweeted Therese Walsh the other day, saying ‘even at this late stage, my characters keep surprising me. I love that’. It’s true! My characters never fail to surprise me with the things they throw at me, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop being grateful for it. This is yet another thing I'm thrilled to discover.
Considering another perspective in your story can expand a novel so much. Even if this side project might never be read, it’s still going to let me express so much more of who my characters are and it’ll be easier as I know them better than before. What started as a reward has turned into an incredibly helpful writing tool. I’m not saying I’ll rewrite my first novel from my other series (I’m not even going to think about that, otherwise I’ll end up writing it!), but it will definitely be something to consider for any future editing.
I might do another post on how writing male voice has been for me instead of female soon. It came up on Jessica Lei’s blog, and I definitely have more to say on it. Any thoughts on this, or male perspective vs. female?