I’ve finally finished reading Ready Player One. It’s a fantastic book set in the future, but obsessed with 70’s and 80’s geek culture (and I mean seriously geeky). As usual, I have a huge stack of novels to read, but I’m going to read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In next. I kind of want to leave a space between Ready Player One and the next novel I read – yep, I liked it that much.
It’s written in first person, and that takes a bit of getting used to. I can’t remember the last time I read a novel written in first person narrative. While the reader does get to know the main character well, and there’s huge potential for plot twists and surprises, you also have to endure everything that the character does. At one point I wanted to reach through the pages and slap the moping main character around the face. He was being so annoying! And he was holding up the damn plot!
Third person is still the narrative mode for me though. I like being able to switch from character to character, skipping the bits where nothing much is happening and seeing things through different characters eyes.
On the writing side, I’ve redrafted five scenes this week. The first few were action heavy. I’ve been using the motivation and reaction method that Randy Ingermanson advocates, which has spiced things up considerably. But the last few scenes have been at least fifty per cent dialogue.
I need to make sure that the dialogue conveys conflict. Even in scenes where two allies are talking, they will both have their own agendas, and their own prejudices that inform their reactions to the other speaker.
Using dialogue in a neutral way, just to allow characters to share information, is exposition. Sure, sometimes it’s just quicker and easier to tell the reader what’s going on, but for the most part dialogue should be about creating and building on tension.
So that’s another thing to keep an eye on during the rewrite.