My last two literary attempts were told from the point of view of the main character. Mostly for utilitarian reasons. It was an approach that satisfied certain mental needs I had at the time. There’s definitely something therapeutic about creating a hypothetical being you become as you write, like a literary David Bowie performing as Ziggy Stardust.

Timeless masterpiece. Not a bad song on it.

However, one of the downsides of using a first-person narrative mode in fiction is that the main character must necessarily be involved in every scene. Which becomes a problem if you want to add spice to the story by inserting sleazy underhanded happenings behind the scenes that the protagonist shouldn’t know about.

I tried a number of workarounds to that problem with my previous work in progress. Like writing a few chapters in epistolary form, or having the point of view suddenly shift to a different character. Such methods can make for a jarring and confusing read if they’re not done right. With my current literary attempt, I sensed there was no need to make the narrative any more confusing than it needed to be, in part owing to the fact that one of the major characters is an artificial intelligence whose language is comprised entirely of sound effects. So I went with the tried-and-true third-person mode this time. This is a narrative voice I haven’t used in years, so it involved a bit of getting used to at first. But I appreciate the fact that I can get inside any character’s head. That’s a good power to have.

The Bullhorn of SILVER BROWN

Now Playing: Chapters Eleven & Twelve

Chapters Eleven and Twelve of SILVER BROWN are presently being cast into the Twitterverse for the reading pleasure of the good people of Planet Earth. My normal shtick is to tweet these chapters at a rate of one page a day, but I think this time around I’ll do something a little bit different and only do that for Chapter Eleven. Twelve is an offshoot of Eleven, a by-product of the many countless rewrites Eleven underwent. It consists of only two pages, and reads more like an epilogue to Eleven than a chapter in its own right. So I might just tweet Twelve in its entirety in one fell swoop as a grand finale.

These are the first chapters in the book that are narrated by any character other than Florys MacNab. Both are written from the point of view of the story’s villains. To accentuate that point, the narrative styles of each of these chapters are a pronounced departure from Florys’ characteristic vernacular. Chapter Eleven is written in epistolary form, while Twelve has more of a stream-of-consciousness vibe to it. David Wong (a.k.a. Jason Pargin, the former editor of Cracked.com) used this technique to great effect in his comic horror masterpiece John Dies at the End, which featured nefarious entities from other dimensions that were introduced to the audience through excerpts from (fictional) textbooks. Some variant of that technique was bound to find its way into my own yarn.

Machinations of the SAAZMOL organization that were only casually alluded to in the earlier chapters are portrayed in all their eldritch unglory at this point in the story. There’s a remote chance these chapters might be high-octane nightmare fuel for some people, but I would opine they’re way less frightening than the current zeitgeist. Compared to the news headlines of any given day in 2020, these chapters are about as scary as the scariest episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

tenor (13)
Writing these chapters felt like this for me. Or at least a version of this without the unfortunate transphobia. I’ll just leave it at that.