Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This book is killing me

I'm going to talk process a little now, mainly because I need to get this all out. If you're not interested in such things, maybe you want to get a coffee. Could you bring me back a muffin? Thanks.

The rest of you, settle in and enjoy.

People ask me if writing in first person is hard. And maybe for some people, it is. I'll admit it's a little inconvenient because you need that person whose POV you're writing in for every critical scene. But with a little creativity, that's not a problem. That's what I'm used to, by the way -- writing in first person.

Now I'm writing a book on a bigger scale. Instead of one POV, the heroine, or even two points of view, hero and heroine, I'm writing my paranormal in FOUR POV: hero, heroine, villain, and ...someone else. I won't say too much about the last person because he'll be important in book two -- and he's intriguing as hell right now. I'll admit that it gives me more freedom. I can do a lot more in this format.

Thing is? My process makes this hella difficult. How come? you might ask. That's an excellent question. See, the way I work, I channel the emotions of whoever I'm writing at the time. I suspect the intensity people talk about in my books comes from the fact that I feel whatever my protagonist is feeling while I'm writing the scene. Since I generally go dark -- that's a lot of emotion surging through me over the course of a chapter.

And it's bad enough with one person. Now I'm writing a book in the POV of four complex, tortured individuals. By the time I complete one chapter, I feel utterly exhausted, ready to go to bed even though it's two in the afternoon (or whatever time I finish). At this point, I'm near the 25K mark, and the idea that I still have so much left to write is daunting. I never imagined it would be this tough in multiple points of view.

I can keep up, but at what cost? I'm a little worried about what kind of mental shape I'll be in by the time I'm done. So at this point, I can use some cheering up. Good news, anyone?


azteclady said...

First... would you take a nice blueberry bagel with that coffee instead of a muffin?

Second... (((Ann)))

Third... I'm having fun with a great gift a really cool person sent me. (Did I thank you yet? :wink: )

Katie said...


Wish I had a good answer to the question, but I don't think there is one. With writing 1st person, you don't get the distnace you do when writing in 3rd. I guess after you are done writing for teh day, you need to find a way to restore what you expended writing. Would meditation work?


Ann Aguirre said...

Unfortunately there's no real emotional distance for me when I write in third person. It's strictly a stylistic thing. I still feel everything I write, everything the character is feeling -- and I like to put them through the wringer. Which means I'm wrung as well.

Lisa Iriarte said...

I totally understand what you are saying. The main character in the book I'm currently trying to sell is a female assassin with a very dark and tortured past. At heart, she's a good person, but it's hard for her to tap into that side of herself after all she's seen and done. Anyway, I'm told by friends and husband, that I get very "scary" when I'm really deep into writing her character. We call it "Vick mode" in my house, Vick being the character's name. Because, like you, that's how I write. I literally think like the character I'm working on, including attitude, word choices, responses to situations, even my stance. The hubby can always tell when I'm dropping into "Vick mode." If I want to get myself out of it, I force myself to do something completely out of character for her. In Vick's case, that would be anything remotely feminine, warm, fuzzy, or artistic. I'll paint, go on a date with my husband, play with my kids,etc. Maybe that would help you.

Stargazer said...

Wishing you all the Best of luck with your book. I am writting one in about 4 points of view too right now...and it is stressful. But, I would think frist person would be more difficult..maybe not.
How about a chocolate bar with that coffee?? Yum....Chocolate.

Jeri said...

Maybe not good news, but at least commiseration. The first time I did Multiple POVs (4, like you) it was incredibly difficult. I wrote one scene per day (that was the goal, at least--I had to step things up toward the end to finish on time), so I didn't have to bounce back and forth in one writing session.

The hardest part for me was that it required so much more planning ahead of time--how many scenes each character would get so that none of them would take over the book from the heroine.

And then there's the chronological planning--what do you do when you need one character to show his face so the reader doesn't forget them, but they're not currently doing anything?

Index cards were my savior.

If it helps, I can't *wait* to read what you're writing!! I love when authors I love branch out to try new things.

Rosie said...

Good news? Your efforts are not unappreciated. You write a damn good book. When I complained about doing my hair, makeup, shaving my legs, etc. my Mom would say, "You have to suffer to be beautiful." Beautiful was never on the table I was shooting for "decent to be seen in public".

Anyway, my point is that while you are enduring this arduous journey to write your book, you have a very appreciative audience who can't wait to read those words.

So, thanks Ann for working so hard.

Ann Aguirre said...

Lisa, good luck with Vick! And that's good advice. Thank you. I'm trying to make sure I spend plenty of time with my family in the evening. It seems to help.

Good luck with your project, Stargazer.

Jeri, it helps a lot to hear that. I'm not so much on the planning, but I do a lot in terms of format. I pick a structure and stay with it. For instance, this book goes:

Three chapters / heroine / hero

In other words, they each get half a chapter for three chapters. The heroine goes first. Then every fourth chapter is first the villain, and then... the other guy, who I'm not talking about.

Rosie, that means so much to hear! Thank you. I feel better today than I did on Wednesday. I take weekends off, so I should be in good shape by Monday.