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The new novel – point of view dilemma and switching off the inner editor

I am currently writing my second novel. For most of last year I was working on the redrafting and editing of my first novel and that process is quite different from creating something new. I’ve found it quite hard to change back to the, necessarily, very raw state of the writing when a novel is in the creation phase. It’s hard to stop editing and to just keep ploughing on to get the thing from brain to page. The thing is to tell the story and not to agonise and ponder over each word, phrase and nuance – that comes later.

Of course there was a whole lot of preliminary work before I even began writing this second book. I had a fair bit of research to do – more so than for ‘Change of Life’. Then there were the character biographies and the plot and chapter outlines to do. But now it’s underway.

I’m 16000 words in and already there’s been a couple of surprises.  First, a minor character has stepped into the spotlight demanding to tell her version of events. And then I had to make the hard decision, at around 12000 words, to switch the whole thing from third person narration to first person. Exactly the same thing happened with the first novel. I really wanted to have a go at third person narration this time around – but it seemed flat and lifeless. Changing to first person made it come alive. Maybe I’m just a ‘first person’ kind of girl.

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