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Missing Omni

The deeper I sink into Sand of Bone revisions, the more trouble I'm having maintaining voice.  It's fairly easy in large sections where revisions require a simple rework and rearrangement of what's there.  But the places that require a bridge of new material--or an entire new chapter--I am struggling against the omni voice of Chant.

Writing in omni isn't something I expected to so fall in love with.  Chant was an experiment, my chance to try out what sartorias spoke of with such excitement.  But as I settled into the flow--developed a better feel for narrative shifts, grew comfortable with choosing whose eyes and ears and mind would be shared with the reader--I indeed fell in love with its dual nature.  Omni is at once direct and removed, simple and complicated, rich and streamlined.  It's the broad focus of a panorama lens combined with the encompassing intimacy of a gentle kiss.

Now, with Sand, I feel as if I'm learning third all over again, which in some ways I am.  There is such a temptation to slip into omni, to re-write the entire thing in omni.  But shifting from third to omni isn't a simple thing.  The switch would require a complete overhaul of its structure, timing, character revelations, important plot notes...  And I don't have a storyteller--the behind-the-prose character telling the story.  Based on my experience with Chant, that lack is enough to kill the chances of omni working well.

So, no, Sand will remain third--at least until I reach the end of the rewrite, I suppose.  Then I'll beg some beta feedback to see if it works.  If not, I shall shelve it, work it on Chant's sequel, and Drunkard, and any other thing I can until I figure out what the heck I want to do with it.  Why not do that now?  Because I want beyond all wants to have the rewrite finished rather than aborted.  (And I'm so glad I get to make that choice.  Were I on an external deadline, Sand would never be what I want it to be.)

But the no-omni thing is indeed bugging the crap out of me.  I never thought third-person would feel so constricting and clunky!


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 6th, 2013 07:18 pm (UTC)
i had a heck of a time forcing Exordium into third, way back when. (Omni simply wasn't an option back in the late eighties, early nineties.)
May. 6th, 2013 07:28 pm (UTC)
I can imagine! You did manage it quite wonderfully, though. :)

I really struggled in the beginning to understand omni until my brain stumbled onto the image of a storyteller at the hearth. The storyteller will take on different tones and voices for characters, but remains the storyteller (as opposed to an actor, who takes on a single character at a time).

May. 6th, 2013 07:30 pm (UTC)
That's a wonderful way to describe it.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Blair MacGregor

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