Best of The Thinking Quill – 6

Buenos dias mis hijos,

It is one, Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV, author, pedagogue, genius, and all-round good egg. Out of the kindness of my heart, and the largeness of my soul, and the sharpness of my intellect, I have elected to brighten your darkness, educate your ignorance, and lift your aspirations. By following my simple guides to literate and effective script, you too may aspire to the success – both in the annals of Mamon and in the estimation of the intelligentsia – of my own seminal novel ‘Fatswhistle and Buchtooth’.

My intention to write this piece crystalised in my mind just yesterday morning when Mumsie threw open the door to my bijou writing sanctuary, her face an interesting shade of puce and mouthed some words at me, which I could not quite discern as I had the climax of the 1812 Overture playing in the background at the volume such an impressive piece deserves.

Without so much as a warning, Mumsie pulled the plug and deafening silence ensued. In the polite and restrained conversation which followed, I learned that apparently, the cannon fire had been loud enough to disturb the neighbours and even waken dear Mummy from her post libatious slumber. But, as I kept repeating, very reasonably if to no avail, how was I to know? It was not as if I could read her thoughts.

Ah, but the world of fiction is so much more amenable to such things, as I shall reveal to you my dear Reader Who Writes. And thus, having established both my bona fides and my intentions, we can move on to this week’s lesson. Pay attention…

How To Start Writing A Book: The Write Point of View

There is a great deal of advice out there on the vexed topic of point of view. Should one write in first person? Or perhaps close third person? Or omniscient third person? Or? The arguments rage long and bitterly. Devotees of each and every style consider their own personal favourite the only possible option and bitterly denigrate anyone with the temerity to disagree.

I am here to demystify the process in my usual and inimitable style. My dear little bunnies… It doesn’t matter.

Set yourself a scene and write it however it feels most fitting.

Write as if you sat above your protagonists on a pink and champagne-laden cloud. Write as though your prose was dragged screaming and turgid from the entrails of your damaged hero. Write from the careless and unfeeling head of your beautiful female antagonist. Write all three at the same time – one’s own preferred method of procedure – at least then your millions of fans will miss none of the nuances of meaning and intention.

All I will say is that the head hop, so despised by the horde of amateur lectors out there in ‘gosh I’m a published writer’ land, is the finest tool in the hand of those with true talent and exquisite sensibility. How will one’s readers know the texture of a lover’s skin, but also appreciate the blackness at beauty’s heart? Or how shall the simple folk following the journey of your broken crusader understand both his magnificence and his utter bleakness?

No, my students, hop from head to head as the muse wills. It will result in a tapestry of textures and emotions, both beautiful to the eye and instructive to the soul. This is the only way to allow your reader to immerse deeply into the bubbling cauldron of relationships and experiences that you are crafting for their delight.

And what of those philistines who would decry when you choose to write some sections in the first person and some in the third? Or when you write successive characters in the first person? These deluded individuals would have it that such stylistic magnificence is both confusing to the reader and hard to follow. Or they berate it for breaking their reading immersion. Poor precious darlings, say I! They should learn to engage with the author’s carefully chosen blend of points of view. They are lazy readers and not worthy of your literary outpourings. Shake the dust of their denouncements from your metaphorical feet with disdain.

So be bold and brazen, ignore the ignorant self-proclaimed ‘masters’ of the literary art. Whilst their poor prose may only allow scant glimpses of the inner processes of their characters, except perchance their chosen hero, yours will be as sunlight through the thickets of thought and feeling for every character who steps upon the stage of your story.

Until next. Escribe bien…

Moonbeam Farquhar Metheringham IV

You can find more of IVy’s profound thoughts in How To Start Writing A Book courtesy of E.M. Swift-Hook and Jane Jago.

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