I’m smack dab in the middle of The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford, a thrilling suspense of a woman who is bipolar. The story is good, no doubt about it, but that’s not what I’m writing about in this post. After all, I haven’t finished reading it. Second, I’m the worst at writing reviews. [Makes me wonder how I’m going to ever write a synopsis or query letter.]
I’m marveling at Susan’s characteristic tone and delivery of writing. Chances are I’ve seen it before, but where and when totally escape me.
She uses the deep POV approach. Duly appropriate because of the syndrome the protagonist has. Knowing what happens when she switched to manic is a main but not only twist in the story.
Susan chose to write this novel in third person, which is common enough, but she uses in the present tense. I find this atypical, although it could definitely be that my list of books isn’t reaching out far enough to find others. Anyway, putting third person with present tense is unexpected.
She has a few scenes where the POV is one of the other characters, but so far anyway, most of the scenes are from the perception of the first main character. [Am I using too many POVs?]
I’ve been writing my WiP in third person using past tense–prosaically common. I want to stay with the third person approach, but maybe I should think about switching to present tense to bring the reading in closer; have them feel that they’re standing right next to the character.
Susan does have some scenes that are done in past tense though. She’s done this to give back story. She brings the back story into the other scenes, but only glimpses because the bulk has already been addressed. I like this technique. Sure, it interrupts the story, but it enriches the knowledge about the character and, therefore, deepens the POV.
I’ve been trying to give out tidbits of back story as I write. It’s been such a struggle. I’m seriously thinking about going back and using Susan’s method.
Another aspect of Susan’s writing that I would love to practice so I feel comfortable with it is the abundance of narrative and less of dialogue. She has page upon page of narrative that moves the story right along. Somehow she gets the deep POV in there without any character talking.
This isn’t to say she doesn’t have any dialogue, but the conversations I’ve seen in other books are used for explanations vital to the story. This doesn’t seem to be the case in her stories. Instead, it’s the conversations that would be normally heard in such situations in real life. She gracefully enters the needed information in her narrative in such a way that the passages flow.
Yes, I’m one of those who has been using dialogue for clarification and description. I’m not even sure why I do it because I’d much rather use narrative for these aspects. I think I’m probably being lazy.
I’m glad I have found this incredible author. She has shown me possibilities I think I’ve needed to consider.
– that so much of what determines who we are, who we become, our sanity or lack of it, depends on circumstance, on voices from the past that whisper in our ears or lodge themselves in our heads. ~ Susan Crawford