While Mucking About…

barnWhile mucking out the barn in my brain, I stumbled across this idea I had sometime last year. I thought at the time it sounded nifty. Something to try, and then I forgot about it until just now. Those senior moments happen more often than I like.

I’ve decided to avoid remembering unessential things in order to hold back some brain cells for the future. Don’t tell me the illogic of this idea, I’m convinced it’ll work and let’s leave it at that. Regardless, the idea is fraught with pitfalls because my mind is trivia central. A small hand-lettered sign over the neocortex reads: useless information repository.

Anyhow.The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

My idea was this: how interesting would it be to take a favorite old story – preferably something sacrosanct and rewrite it from a different POV? I’m sure someone has already done this for fun and fame but I’m still claiming I thought it up all by my lonesome.

Sometimes point-of-view puzzles me. I think I’ve nailed it and then all of a sudden the camera is being held by some omniscient narrator floating half a mile above the scene and reporting like a talking head with Alan Rickman’s voice.

“and as the ravening beast approaches our heroine, she naively clings to her shreds of modesty and…”

Severus SnapeAs voices go, this is not really a bad thing (it IS Snape, after all), but still – not exactly my goal. I think taking a tried-and-true story and flipping it inside out with a POV shift might help me figure this out. Now I just need to find a book and try it.  I’m stuck and can’t think of any.Shut up. It’s not a senior moment. Anybody out there tried this? Tell me how it worked. Should we have a little contest and see who can best screw up alter a classic? Thoughts? Input? Crap…am I alone out here?

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  1. #1 by Angela Wallace on October 10, 2011 - 9:20 pm

    Lol, Snape narrating, now there's an audio image. I haven't tried flipping POVs, but Stephanie Meyer actually wrote another version of Twilight from Edward's POV. She didn't release it because the first bit got pirated and she was too upset to continue it. She did make it available on her website for fans, though, and it was interesting to read.

  2. #2 by Alica McKenna Johnson on October 11, 2011 - 1:16 am

    I wrote a fanfic which switch POV's but nothing as drastic as that- for a while it was even in Snape's POV LOL!

  3. #3 by Tameri Etherton on October 11, 2011 - 1:50 am

    I've never taken a classic and written it in a different POV, but I do that with my novels. If I'm having a hard time 'feeling' a scene, I'll write it from another character's POV and usually end up using it. Sometimes I just do it for fun/backstory.Now I'm a little curious to try this out.

  4. #4 by Lesann Berry on October 11, 2011 - 5:08 am

    I do love Alan Rickman's overt enunciation – as far back as the original Die Hard – but I adore the way he speaks as Snape. Every word is so condescending and utterly devastating. I just can't imagine anyone else in that role.I did read Midnight Sun on Stephenie Meyer's website and quite enjoyed the contrast with Twilight. I've nothing against first person stories, but there's always a moment when I wish I knew what was going on inside another character's head.

  5. #5 by Lesann Berry on October 11, 2011 - 5:11 am

    Alica – I've never tried a fanfic but I've certainly spent plenty of hours sitting around with friends talking about "what if…" in regard to books and movies. We've talked about switching POVs and reversing timelines, etc.

  6. #6 by Lesann Berry on October 11, 2011 - 5:13 am

    Hi Tameri! I've done exercises where I switch POV in a scene to see how it plays out – and usually it marks a problem area in the story which is why I'm drawn to messing with it. It IS a useful method. I keep thinking about taking a story by one of my favorite authors and rewriting it from a different POV but then the idea becomes daunting. I think it would be really fun to take a romance novel and rewrite it from the male's POV. Or take a first-person and turn it into third…or a third person, multiple POV and turn it into a first person narrative.Of course I'm probably just procrastinating.

  7. #7 by Natalie on October 11, 2011 - 2:10 pm

    Sounds really interesting. Like Angela said, Stephanie Meyers did it with Twilight. She said it was a character development activity that she would have likely published had it not got pirated. I read it and it was fascinating. Never thought of doing it to a tried and true though – could be fun!

  8. #8 by Lesann Berry on October 11, 2011 - 2:51 pm

    Hey Natalie-I found Stephenie Meyer's exercise very interesting as well. I remember wondering how often she had to pull out her own copy of Twilight and check the timeline – and I was struck how differently the pacing of Edward's perspective came across. I've never compared distance into the narrative, but I wonder how it contrasted? I kind of think his POV would have made a much longer version if she'd finished.

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