Re-telling the story

March 1, 2016 at 10:53 pm | Posted in 1960s, Australia, Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, historical fiction, Mental Health, Ways of Living, Writing and Life | 27 Comments
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For the last month or more, I have been re-writing my second novel, (its working title is Thursday’s Child, although that will probably change). It isn’t  complete – I had written about 62,000 words  but, about four-fifths of the way through it,  I had hardly written anything on it in the year until this January.

I was stuck. I couldn’t get motivated. I had no enthusiasm to get the story finished.  I also had a year in which depression played too big a part. I wondered if my book would ever get written.

Then, after reading a few teen/Young Adult novels at the end of last year that worked really well, I decided to change my story from past tense and third person to present tense and first person. So now, my main character is telling her own story instead of someone else telling it for her. It works so much better!

With my new-found enthusiasm and will, I have so far re-written and edited my manuscript to over 60,000 words. I have another 5,000 words to go until I get to the place where I almost gave up a year ago.

I am hoping – no, expecting – that when I get there, I will be able to carry the story to its conclusion. After all, it is so much better to be telling the story as if I am the main character than telling it from an outside perspective.

My main character, Tori, has become much more real to me in the process of re-writing, and at times, I can feel her emotions as if they are mine. They are raw and real.

My first novel, Ben’s Challenge, was written in first person past tense, and that seemed to work well. But this one does better written as an unfolding story in the present. That present being Australia in 1959-1960.

I simply must finish telling Victoria’s (Tori’s) story!


(c) Linda Visman


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  1. The only downside I have found to the first person POV, is that (as in The Orphans, which I’m serialising on Sundays – see my MC only know what she knows, which is something I had to keep at the front of my mind.
    Having said that, this was my first attempt, so I really have no idea what I’m talking about!

    • It is certainly limiting Keith. I think we need to make sure the story we are telling fits that approach. I think there are many that don’t.
      I will check out your story. 🙂

  2. Fantastic entry, especially for writers searching for the lost muse! Good luck with finishing the story!

  3. Good for you. I started my current novel first person present tense. I changed it a few times, but keep going back to this format. I like the way it unfolds much better. Keep going…you give me inspiration. I keep putting mine down and picking it up and putting it down. My story line is much the same but I think time and perspective have helped me develop a deeper story.

    • It’s more personal when the perspective is from the main protagonist, isn’t it. I’m sure you will get it going and keep at it when you are ready.
      You make a good point too about time and perspective. Letting something – a story, character, situation, etc – simmer or, like yeast, grow and develop into a richer one, also gives us the time to bring out a better understanding of what we want for the story.
      Many thanks for your comment suzicate.

  4. It is interesting how different stories are better suited to different POVs. I think young adult novels often suit first person. I have never tried writing in first person present tense. I’m glad your novel is flowing better now. I look forward to reading it!

    • Many thanks, Kristah. I haven’t managed to get your latest book yet, but hope to do so soon. 🙂

  5. So interesting, Linda. Some stories just need to be told in a different voice or tense. I love first-person because it is such a tight, tight pov. Wonderful to hear the energy in your post. Great luck to you finishing the book!

  6. Thanks Diane. Yes, you do have to write more tightly. It can be a challenge to cut the unnecessary. 🙂

  7. Well done Linda you deserve the breakthrough you’ve waited so long for.

    • Thanks Linda. Hope we can catch up soon – before my son & family arrive from japan at the end of March. 🙂

  8. Glad you are moving forward and feeling reenergized….Hope things keep going smoothly for you! Jo

  9. Sometimes it takes a time to find the correct POV for your story. Well done for taking the time and effort to re-write. With your new found inspiration I think the concluding part will be within your reach. Best of luck! Love the name Tori!

    • Thanks Annika – I have now finished the re-write of the previous draft, and have begun to work on the last section. It’s a bit scary.
      I like the name Tori too. And I also like your name. We have a granddaughter named Anika. 🙂

      • Linda, I can’t believe you have a granddaughter named, Anika – it’s quieten unusual name. It is a Swedish name and means ‘little Anna’. Any Swedish heritage? Good luck with the new section. It is scary but just think, one word and then one more and so on…

      • Anika/Annika is also a Dutch name with the same meaning as yours, and my husband was born in Holland. Although I think, at the time, the name was just one that his daughter (my step-daughter) liked for her first daughter. 🙂

  10. All of my major works have been written in the first person. I think it works better. I have just one in the present tense – a tense that found favour with some, but was disliked by other, reviewers. I’m very glad to hear that your zeal for writing has been rekindled, and best of luck with it. 🙂

    • Yes, first person is so much more immediate. My first novel was in first person too, but past tense. This one is harder to do, but I do hope I am getting it right. 🙂

  11. Good luck with it, Linda. Problems I recognise!

  12. Just placed Ben’s Challenge on my reading list. Will let you know when I’m reading it. You’re my book three discovery from wordpress so not long. Thank you.

    • Many thanks for visiting, for commenting and for aiming to read my novel.
      I think you will like the story and the setting in which it occurs.
      Wishing you all the very best, and thank you also for following my blog. I really appreciate that. 🙂

  13. First person is my natural POV, and even when I use 3rd person, it’s a very close 3rd. I have switched my current WIP to past tense from present–it did have flashback inserts that were in past tense & the present was used to distinguish those. When I deleted them, the present tense didn’t feel necessary. I’m glad the adjustment got you back into the story, maybe even deeper it sounds like. Congratulations!

    • Thanks Ellen – for the visit and for the comment. Sometimes we have to work out which POV works best for the story we are telling. Sounds like you have. 🙂

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