Dark’s POV

I am doing something stupid. I am attempting to write an entire novel in 1st person Point of View (POV) — not just one, but two. I’ve experimented with writing books from multiple perspectives, but those were 3rd-person POV. I no longer like writing that way. I can achieve far more intimacy with 1st person. I wish I’d been skilled enough to write Roxx that way.

I’ve gotten pretty good at 1st-person, but I have this secret view that all writers do 1st person using the same voice in each book, that voice being the author’s, of course. My bright idea is to try to improve by having two in one book, which will force me to differentiate. No idea how to do that, so I’m starting by bleeding the writing through the characters’ very different emotional filters. Foster is a romantic and spell-bound by his partner. Dark sees the world coloured by the images in her brain and washed by her strong emotions. Foss, being an extrovert, focuses on the story around him. Jeanne, as an introvert, focuses on one person or event and the emotional context that paints it.

Shit, this is sounding even harder to do when I write it down. Anyway, here’s my 1st bit of writing as my Jeanne Dark, the literary love of my life. Anyway, here’s the little bit that doesn’t give away the plot. (Dark is all about the plot.) Keep in mind, as always, this is a rough 1st draft, right out of the pen, so to speak. Smooth happens in editing.

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Foss woke me up outside of the restaurant, which was quaintly named “Chennai Concourse.” Initially, I was nonplussed as to my whereabouts, as I had been dreaming I was back home. We were in my grand-père’s house, just south of Paris. It was raining, with the sound of a strong summer storm setting a percussive rhythm against the window. I always loved the sound of rain – it was a brown sound that always calmed me, but rich with vibrant greens the color of unripe apples. I recall many such nights when I was a little girl, unaware that everyone did not see colors when it rained and others could not smell the freshness of fruit at the sight of backlit drops streaming against the windowpane.

As my friend shook me, I remember calling him by my grand-père’s name and seeing the puzzled look he gave me before I realized where I was. I needed his assistance to exit the car, as the chilly autumn rain stiffened my hip. Initially, I thought to have more coffee to ease my pain. This late at night, it would likely end up as another long, fruitless battle against insomnia. Foss was a dear, however, and practically lifted me out of the taxi. Had I not objected, I believe he would have carried me into the building. That would have been very embarrassing. I pushed the trigger my sister designed, which released a dosage of my medication. It would be enough to get me through the evening’s activity, at least until we reached the hotel. If the pain continued, I hoped that perhaps Foss would give me the massage he promised me the day we met. I waited, but it never materialized.

We had moved quickly to meet Mr. Narayanan’s wife, Helen, before the police could intrude and question her. Our contract with the U.S. government required us to cooperate with all legal authorities, but there was nothing to prevent us from staying ahead of them. Surprisingly, we found the restaurant doing a robust business. It was clear that no one from the police or the Institute had thought to tell the poor woman about her husband. Foss insisted that we do not, saying, “The police likely have a protocol they’re following,” which dictated in which order they revealed information. When I inquired as to why they would have such an insensitive policy, he said, “Well, they obviously consider her to be a person of interest.”

I nodded my understanding and excused myself while he ordered a curry dish of some sort that he insisted I share. I had not eaten since our arrival in England, but neither was I hungry. Of course, while he busied himself with naan bread, I had the waitress take me to Mrs. Narayanan. She was of interest to me as well. The restaurant was dim enough that I could see clearly with only my lightest sunglasses, so I had little trouble navigating through the crowded space. Helen was a small woman whom I thought was of mixed Australian and Chinese descent, judging by her accent, as well as her physical traits and the particular sense of touch they elicited. With some visuals, for instance human faces, I feel a sense of touch that varies according, I suppose to the response they elicit in me. As a result, I can remember faces distinctly based on the sense memory that goes with them. People with typical Chinese features evoke a feeling that I have been touched along my left arm, whereas with Koreans, for instance,  the feeling tends to be along my left shoulder. It is an instantaneous response, like a greeting that quickly passes. Of course, there is great variability among people and so this is hardly infallible. Helen, for instance had typical, lovely Asian eyes and dark hair, but almost bronze skin more characteristic of other regions than China. Still, I was certain in her case that I was correct.

19 Comments

  1. ~Felicia~ says:

    So far so good! It reads well.
    ~~~Felicia

  2. amberafrica says:

    Well it seems ( reads) you will do great 🙂

    1. Thank you for your feedback.

  3. I thinks it’s great 🙂

  4. Ishaiya says:

    The world of a synaesthete is very lyrical, it reads well by I thinks it’s still lacking in the emotion that you might expect of such a character unless she is willingly suppressing it. Honestly however, I think she would find that very difficult to do. Maybe it’s something you could allude to, that Dark tries to hide what she is really picking up and feeling from the rest of the world because she doesn’t want to appear unstable.

    1. Thanks, Maria. I’m not sure that I can make someone a detective, which requires the ability to be objective, with too much emotion. I’ll have to think about that. I may need to dial back some of what I’ve written in order to make her believable.

      1. Ishaiya says:

        Well being emotional and objective are two very different things. People are complex and can switch between the two when necessary, but she is a human and a synaesthete. Objectivity is subjective anyway. You can be highly subjective but equally analytical without any interference, I should know being a synaesthete myself and being highly analytical. I would imagine that Dark would know where lines need to be drawn in order to do her job.

        1. Well, I’ve only met a couple of synesthetes, and you both seem very different, in my opinion. 🙂

          Dark never tries to be objective. I don’t equate that with rational thinking. Sherlock Holmes prided himself on rational thinking but I can’t think of single instance wherein I thought his methods were objective. He used facts, but filtered them through his belief system, which invalidates objectivity.

          Like you, I agree that most ‘objectivity’ is illusory. To be objective, you have to first decide what you think are facts. Good luck being objective about that.

          Dark is emotional, but there are levels I’ll invite the reader to see. My view is that the reader only gets glimpses of it, just enough that they know a bit more than Foss. I’ve used that device a lot in my earlier books, so I’m trying to make sure I play it differently here.

          With the scene I posted, she won’t be allowing herself to connect with her subject emotionally, mainly because 1) she’s exhausted, and 2) she knows that the woman is about to learn something horrible about her daughter. Dark doesn’t want to feel that.

          That said, you are completely right in that I need to articulate that. I want her to be very emotional, but controlled. She’s had to live in a box all her life. Getting out of the box is the growth path I have her on. 🙂

          1. Ishaiya says:

            That sounds great.

  5. EagleAye says:

    Bearing in mind that this is a rough write up, it seems to me that this lacks the smooth style that you usually have. I wonder if that’s because it’s a first run, or because it’s writing in the first person. I feel like she was listing off facts in a stream, and this listing “feels” to me like it doesn’t move the story as well. I think your usual poetic descriptors (writing prose as poetry) are what I’m missing.

    I don’t want to be discouraging, because I don’t know how this would read after you’ve worked it a little while, I’m just offering up my honest “opinion” and we all know how much that’s worth. From what I read of the other piece, I think I expected Dark to be dark and sultry and cryptic. It seems to me that a synaesthete would have an exotic interpretation of the world, and this would fit in beautifully with the vivid descriptions I find in your writing. As this stands, I’m not finding that, more of a cold analysis of the facts like reading a list of the parts in a bicycle rather than reading what the oiled metal smelled like and the visions it would elicit.

    I hope all that makes sense. This piece still proves that Dark has fascinating depths and I am very interested in learning much more about her.

    1. Thanks! No, you’re not being discouraging at all. That’s what I’m looking for, feedback that will help me “get” her flow. Ishaiya previously told me it lacks emotional content, which I’ve been struggling to add. Your comments help me figure out how to do that. She will be colored by what she sees and her reactions to the world are more vivid than most. I probably should have written the whole thing from her perspective. It’s like trying to develop a 2nd poetic style.

      But then again, I guess that’s how we grow. Thanks again for the comment. You and Ishaiya have helped me tremendously.

      On 11/27/13 8:34 PM, “This Blog Intentionally Blank”

    2. Oh, and you guess right. My 1st drafts are often blander than I want. It seems I’m only lyrical when I’m in certain moods. I think I’ll go back through this when I’m feeling more poetic. My muse is temporarily out of order.

      1. EagleAye says:

        You know, when she described smelling fresh fruit upon seeing drops on a window pane, I think that’s along the lines of what I expected/desired. Her emotional content would contain different associations, I imagine, and that’s where she would be a truly fascinating character. I wonder how she would “feel” or “see” when someone tells her a lie. Would she hear Charlie Parker jazz when someone is feeling blue?

        Human emotions and genetic makeup can be quite complex, so I wonder when meeting someone of 5 or 6 ethnicities, wouldn’t she have many sensations? And the combination might prove that someone is Chinese but something else is mixed in there. She may not understand everything about her complex sensory input, but that complexity alone would be a clue that a person is not entirely what they seem. Her senses may not be inaccurate, just not fully understood by her yet.

        1. It’s interesting that you said that, because that’s very similar to my original concept of the character. However, the early feedback I got (last year) when I proposed the works was that people thought her synesthesia would be a distraction.

          I’ve been trying to tone it down so that I don’t lose the reader. That puts me into second-guessing myself, which is a death sentence. But all my works have been out of the norm enough that people stay away in droves, and I’ve been trying to find my way closer to the mainstream.

          I’ll have to figure out my way, or rather, Dark’s way. I really would like her to be as unique in her style as Sherlock Holmes was when Doyle presented him. She’s kind of the anti-Holmes – completely opposed to his rational, deductive reasoning. She is objective, but emotional, and her reasoning is intuitive. Facts are for people with little imagination and only a rudimentary understanding of how complex interactions among things are. In fact, she doesn’t even believe in facts.

          I guess that is the center of the book, now that I write it out. She interprets “the room” according to the energy in it. I think I’ll rework this scene and repost it in the future. It’ll be an interesting comparison.

  6. EagleAye says:

    The public is quite fickle and it’s tastes, to me, are not easily understood. People are constantly clamoring for something “new” and “different.” The way an artist interprets these words is quite a bit different. The envelope for “different” in an artist’s mind is substantially larger than that of the general public.

    I think works like “The Portrait of Dorian Gray” are brilliant and the product of a truly artistic mind. As forward-thinking as the work is, it gained popularity and remains a mainstay of popular culture until the present. Gray’s “condition” while bizarre, is ensconced within commonly held perceptions that anyone can understand. Perhaps it is this protective cocoon of familiarity that protects it from being abhorrent to the minds of the masses. I only speculate on this, and wonder if there isn’t a lesson in there for more free-thinking minds.

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