Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Style or Substance?

As I've mentioned a couple of times in this blog already, I'm struggling with my second novel right now. The more I write, the harder it gets to write. You'd figure that once the words got flowing, it would get easier, but instead, it's getting more difficult, and that confuses me as much as it frustrates and disheartens me.

One of the things that makes this story a departure for me is that the focal point stays with a single character. All of my other longer works (namely, my first novel and my serial-installment short stories) jump around from character to character, in an 'ensemble cast' sort of way. I'm admittedly a fan of TV shows that follow that sort of format, where there's no single "main character," but honestly, that's just kind of the way I've written longer pieces for a while (my multiple aborted attempts at a first novel back in the day even followed that structure).

Yesterday, during one of my many, many sessions of pondering how to get my novel to work better, I began to wonder if the story wouldn't be better told if the point of view alternated between the two main characters instead of just sticking with the one. It would certainly give me more room to flesh some characterization out, and it would also let me throw in some different perspective.

Then I had to stop and wonder whether the inclination to do that wasn't so much due to the fact that the story would be better told that way as much it was just a sign that I'm not comfortable and not experienced enough at writing longer stories from a single viewpoint. I'm left second-guessing whether my story needs to be tweaked to fit a different narrative style, or whether I'm simply not capable, at my current level of skill, of telling the story the way it should be told.

I'm still not sure which it is.