Whose Story is This Any Way?

It amazes me how things coincide.  For instance, you’re reading a book about something and it blends perfectly with some aspect of your life.  Or you come across an article about how to combat sleeplessness during a period when you just can’t seem to find rest.

In my case, it was a  movie that questioned whose story it really is.  (The movie, in case you’re wondering, was Sucker Punch  — which is rather what I felt like happened.  If you like spending a couple hours watching someone play a video game, you might enjoy it, otherwise pass it by.  The visuals were stunning at times, but the plot was thin, and the portrayal of women was some school boy’s fantasy.  It was definitely not what I expected.)

Anyhow, back to the question:  whose story was it?  I had an epiphany regarding  that unnamed urban fantasy that’s been moldering on the back burner.  It hit me last week at some point when, once again, I found myself writing a scene from the male protagonist’s POV.  That’s not unusual because I switch between him and the female, but it’s always been her story.  At least, I meant for it to be her story.  I’ve been struggling with it because I’ve been forcing it to be her story.  After all, she’s the one that came to me first.  He was  secondary.  She pointed me in the right direction.  He was there to support her.

Come to realize, it’s hisstory.  She introduced me to him and then stepped back.  Only I didn’t realize it.  Now that I have, things are starting to click, and I’m much more eager to work on it again.

I wonder how many other authors started out telling the wrong character’s story?

Write on!

9 Comments:

  1. I suspect it happens frequently. It’s why I prefer writing stories involving multiple points of view. I’ve stumbled onto a number of interesting players that way. They don’t have to be “main” characters, but they can add depth and richness, surprises (both good and bad), and in some cases, a great laugh or two. Even though the primary story isn’t “theirs,” they still have stories to tell.

  2. I’m thrilled she finally kicked your butt into the right direction 😉 I’ve been getting something like that with my Fenwith Trials. Draft one was all from the MC’s point of view. It took me until draft four to realise, the MC was never the one telling the story. Now that I’ve finally figured that out, I’ll be re-writing the whole damn thing the way it was probably meant to have been written – and I’m excited about it! When things click into place it’s like riding this natural high of “THIS is why I do this”.

    Now I’m going to go steal your idea for a blog post of my own 😉

  3. I haven’t had a story switch from one character to another, but I’ve had new characters introduced to me who require POV status. Maybe that’s part of ‘pantsing.’ So far it hasn’t made me tear out too much hair!

  4. Pingback: Click | The Raven's Quill

  5. This is very interesting. I recently engaged in a conversation about this very thing–the author was struggling because of the POV. I suggested to him that he might not have fully taken the time to learn whose story it is–just like you said. That he went with the obvious character instead of figuring out if the story would be better told by another character.

    I don’t know if you would need to outline the whole story to figure it out. But you probably would need to ‘interview’ each character–or hold a cocktail party with the cast. See who feels like being in the spotlight, lol.

    • Isn’t it amazing how ideas/themes seem to float around at times?

      In my case, I was *positive*, 100%, it was the female protag’s story. Well, hit me over the head with a 2×4. . .

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