Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tsunami Tuesday

Forget about Super Duper Tuesday--Now they're calling it Tsunami Tuesday.

Whatever it is, it's still February 5, Primary voting day in lots of big states, but more importantly it's pub date for Hell's Bay.

A little more than two weeks from the book tour, I find myself doing what I do with every book about now. I go back and skim through it to remind myself what it's about and to try to find a passage here or there that I might want to read in public.

You'd think that a writer would remember their novel vividly. It's only been since August that I finished it and turned it in. But since then I've written a good deal, and started a new book with all the research and false starts involved in the process, and that's sort of blacked out my memories of Hell's Bay.

One thing I do remember with great clarity, though, and the thing I plan to talk about a little on the tour is something that's kind of technical. Point of view.

For the first time in twenty years of working with Thorn, I tried to render him in first person. I had to find his voice, how he sounds, his rhythms. And for the first time I tried to blend first person with third person. All the other characters are rendered from the third person, he, she. So there's something of a clash in points of view. I've preached against this for years. As a traditionalist in many ways, it seems like a real violation of the standard way point of view should work in a novel.

But once I let myself do it, I found it pretty appealing. The intimacy of first person gives Thorn a level of exposure he's never had before. And this is a book in which Thorn learns a great deal about who he is and where he came from, so that intimacy seems appropriate.

I usually tell funny stories on the tour, and probably will this year. So I'm trying to find the humorous angle on this literary feature. Haven't located it yet. Any help would be appreciated.


JoanF said...

I'm looking forward to seeing how you handled the different points of view. After following Thorn all these years, it'll be interesting to see you really get inside his head. Did it make you feel like you have/had multiple personalities? Will you write from that perspective again?

James W. Hall said...

I always feel like I have multiple personalities. You do? Yes, I do.

Maybe it's time I upped by shrink visits to three a week.

Truth is, moving between the heads of various characters, as I've always done, is very liberating most of the time. It's a challenge, but one I enjoy.

But speaking as Thorn, in his voice, rather than reporting things from over-his-shoulder, now that was hard. It took me a long time to reach the point that I felt I was getting it right. And even then, I had my doubts.

I might try it again. I'm not sure at this point.

JoanF said...

Can the funny stories and just show up on the tour AS Thorn (drag your shrink along too just in case).

Big Al said...

Interesting. Just got my coveted Advance Reader Copy of Hell's Bay and can't wait to dig in.
Joanf sounds like quite a character.
I love the funny stories and incidents during your visits to our parts of the world. Like being drowned out by the frappachino machine at Border's Books in Tampa last year as you tried to speak. Or somehow managing to interchange your novels with the latest Harry Potter release.
Those stories deserve a book unto their own and are what keep us die hard Hall fans coming out in droves! See you in Tampa.