Whose Point of View?

12 Feb

When I am thinking about No Way Out, in terms of its development in how it is told, I have phrases (yes they are already bubbling under the surface) that would not fit into traditional dialogue. So if working this into a script, how do I get around this?

Traditionally if we are writing a novel, we have the freedom to explore the thoughts and mind processes of our protagonist. Should we wish, we can make them completely open, no secrets, no lies, a soul laid bare.

I entered 'soul laid bare' in google images and this is what I got. i thought it was quite emotive.

When scripting, we are to determine the thoughts either through the dialogue, a verabl expression or action, but there is always the chance they are holding something back from the audience, just as we ourselves may choose to edit our conversation. It is the classic sting in the tale, what is the narrator not telling?

I have two paths I am considering right now in terms of how I write this script. One allows for me to explore the depth of what the reader knows, the other is more traditional in its approach.

Option A

I like the fact that the short story was told in reverse. Taking that, I am thinking that Steves story is told from the hospital bed, where he is in a coma. We can return to the hospital bed from time to time, where we will see visits primarily from Michael (the son) and Becky (the cashier). These will interrupt the flow of the story just enough to allow it to take a sharp turn in what part is being told rather than being about the visit.  Steve will be the narrator of his own story in a kind of Shawshank Redemption style (though obviously not with that finesse – I may be good (ha ha) but not that good!

Option B

The alternative is to tell the story from Poppys (wife) point of view. I think this potentially could take us on a completely different journey and have our expectations and emotions turned on their heads in relation to what we would feel with option A. This story would start from Poppy having the miscarriage, and would not necessarilly require a narrator. We wouldnt know Steves thought proceses, just the devastation of his actions to those that ‘love’ him.

To make a definitive decision, I need to confirm the key plotlines that are to feature. This may sound a little strange, after all, we already have the story, we are just making a short long. No we are not.

I could just take the story and fill in the blanks, but I dont think that would be much fun. I have already drawn the conclusion that for me, if writing is a slog, that is how the story reads. Hence why we are mixing this up, playing around considering various angles. So…

I am going to write a synopsis. Now I am not very good at these, and as I haven’t fully decided which perspective this story is to be told from, it could potentially be too long and unbearable to be worthwhile. I am thinking that I should write several. Obviously they would be the same in many aspects, but likewise they will be very different.

Before I begin however, I would really appreciate your thoughts. Have you ever been in this position before? You know, questioned the perspective of the story? Have you any tips for getting round this?

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12 Responses to “Whose Point of View?”

  1. grumphy February 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

    Interesting dilemma … both have equal weight, and directions, but choosing one means not choosing the other, which kind of stinks. Keep both options open for as long as possible, you could even interchange them. One internal story, where the MC keeps reliving the same sequence (out of order) and the peripheral characters at the bedside in realtime .. (hmm, maybe a little complicated!)
    I am facing much the same at the mo … hacking a novel start-up to suit ‘literary’ course guidelines. Poo!

    • Ellie February 15, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

      I am thinking, like you say keep them going for as long as possible. Based on the other comments I think the best plan would be to just write each characters individual story, and then collate them. It is just whether I have the skill to pull it off.

      Have you had much luck? Do you fancy a writers session to chuck around ideas?

      • grumphy February 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

        That sounds like a good idea … 🙂 When and where?

      • Ellie February 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

        Could do an evening, if not it would have to be during a lunchbreak depending on your free days!

  2. Jessica S February 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Ooo! I LOVE the idea of Option B. You could really play on the whole life-through-perceptions thing. Since you can’t really share Steve’s thoughts, you can keep the (would-be) viewer speculating about the actuality of the events.

    What if the main viewpoint is Poppy, but you use other minor characters’ (such as the son’s) viewpoint here and there as well? (Is that what you were getting at by letting Becky come in here and there to visit him?) That way, you could see the events from two different perspectives, each seeming to highlight different specifics–one judging Steve negatively, one seeing Steve’s actions as justified.

    • Ellie February 15, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      Its funny reading through these comments collectively and actually writing the response, i thought I knew what I would say to each of you but then BAM, I change my mind.

      Exploration of development through multiple perspectives? This could be incredibly fun and challenging. Definitely a true test of writers ability. Hmmm….

  3. Candice L Davis February 12, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Lucky me! I live with a screenwriter. Here’s his take on your predicament: If the phrases don’t move the story along or reveal character then you have to lose them. Is there a way to use imagery, action, or something visual/physical to convey what you’re trying to get across. When it comes to script writing, a narrator rarely works for such things. (It can, but it usually comes across as a cheat.)

    My take: Try the other p.o.v. In writing short stories/novel scenes, I’ve found that writing from another p.o.v. opens up the story in amazing ways, even if I ultimately don’t use that material.

    Good luck with it all!

    • Ellie February 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

      Coming across as a cheat is my predicament. I obviously don’t want that, but I felt maybe as Steve would be in a coma, it would be the thoughts running through his head (taking the believe that when in a coma you are aware of everything). But I don’t know if I am honest, as soon as I read your comment it was like a smack or remembrance, why I had never taken that option before, and the many discussions I have previously had. Might be time to go get some books to remind me of these things…

      Going with your take seems to be the favoured option, I desperately want to explore the other perspective.

  4. Skyler :) February 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Hey Again Ellie,
    Okay so just clarifying with option one. What exactly do you mean by that? Are you talking about something like as each person visits Steve their part of the story is revealed. Like Poppy visits him and recalls the miscarriage and affair, and then Becky visits him and the bank scenario runs through her mind, then Micheal visits and remembers his daddy struggling to buy him thing and never being to his new home, while his possible landlord visits and recalls the true money struggles facing Steve. Just wanting some clarification. Other than that your mind seems to be in a great place at this stage of the project.

    • Ellie February 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      Hey Skyler, thanks for getting involved! I wasn’t thinking that each visitor would then invoke a part of the story, more that there is this whole life still going on, and developing, taking unexpected twists and turns. Like for example, why would becky the cashier want to visit the guy that held her at gunpoint? The idea being it is making the viewer question motives.

    • Samantha February 18, 2013 at 9:52 am #

      This is what happens when inttdiey politics starts to eat itself: you get all of the inttdiey and none of the politics. Hahaha! Thanks Mary Tracy9. The image of a snake eating its tail sprang to mind! And that’s exactly what’s happening: CIRCULARITY. Which is the bane of my existence and the root of my mental instability.

    • lgqcxy February 21, 2013 at 5:32 am #

      h5b9HL bcpykkoaqiwe

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