Monday, April 1, 2013

Norwescon I


I went to Norwescon in Seattle again this year.   A lot of people dress up in costume, like so: 





The most interesting discussion panel was on viewpoint in a story.  For some reason, when Young Adult first became a hot category, many people thought the stories had to all be written in first person (“I did,” as opposed to “he did” or “she did”).  But unless the main character has a strong voice, this becomes a problem.  (“Voice” is the term writers use to describe a character’s distinctive dialog, thoughts, and way of describing surroundings.)  Without a strong voice, authors tend to use third person. 

These writers were skeptical of using both first person and third person in a novel.  Of course, H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds used both first and third person, in different parts of the book.  My reimagining of that novel will do the same.  Here is an excerpt from Violet’s point of view, as she surveys the aftermath of the initial Martian attack: 

She flicked water from her ears in disbelief—flicked them too hard, causing the points to sting—then saw pond water was dripping from her wet clothes onto the oriental rugs in my husband’s study.  Stupidly, she clicked the light switch up and down several times before realizing the electric lights must be out—in the whole house, in the whole neighborhood!  The lack of artificial light made her next move obvious, though the idea of sidling up to the window felt scary after reaching safe harbor inside the security of the house.  But she forced her legs to move, against the clinging of damp bloomers. 

As her horrified eyes adjusted, she could see a series of hungry flames burning on what was left of a scorched hillside beyond Horsell Common, swaying in the dying gusts of the storm that sporadically howled against the house, their redness reflecting off the scudding clouds above.  She spied a dark shape in the pit—something ominous the Martians were working on.  What fresh terror is this?  A tang of burning resin leaked in from the window.  

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