( There are four classical elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. An airship contends with all of them.Collapse )BTW, these photographs might be under copyright,
but are used here for academic research purposes.
|You know there's a rule about giving the reader a POV character to care about right from the start. What few of you know, because you haven't read But Soon It Will Be Night, is that I did a "manual override" of that rule at my own peril, and every year that goes by without a Nobel Prize or a movie deal leaves me feeling more like that may have been a mistake. But what's done is done. The thing is, while giving a reader that sort of main character elicits a stronger commmitment to finish reading the book, it also gives the reader something like emotional body armour, or a comfortable seat in a darkened theatre; a cushioned space behind which a reader can know that this is only a story, however engaging it might be. I didn't want that. I didn't want anyone to read this book and imagine the horror of a disfigured man touching the mess where his face had been a moment earlier. I want you to feel that horror, perhaps even touch your own face and look at your own fingertips. But you won't do that, nor feel the horror which would compel you to do it, so long as you have a character to hide behind. I want you immersed and lost in the experience, and I felt when I wrote it that the writing was so impeccably effective that it wouldn't just drag you kicking and screaming into the deadly cold air over Germany, it would hold you there until the mission was done and the last survivor had returned; that when you returned with him, you would feel what that survivor felt, at least as well as any observer could feel it.|
No one who has read it has ever said, "I just can't care about these characters!" Quite the contrary. Their complaint, if they have one, is that they are overwhelmed; some readers are even surprised at how much they care about so many young men about whom they know so little.
Luckily, my Negro League Baseball novel stalled before I got very far with it, so I can still make it less of a mélange ensemble*. I don't think I'd want to restrict that one to a single PoV MC. The War Correspondent novel does have a first person narrator, who is presumably narrating the third-person passages. And, of course, the Gospel novel is entirely from Peter's PoV.
* I think I just made that up.
|I don't know, there may be a Steampunk Writers' Guide on this subject, but just in case there isn't, I'll mention a few important technical details.|
|the danger was not over...|
-Honour in the skies
A B-17 damaged on a bombing raid over Germany reached England safely after a German pilot declined to shoot it down. True.
Amazing tale of a desperate WWII pilot’s encounter with a German flying ace
A husband and wife in the back yard lounging in lawn chairs. He's in the standard posture; head at top, rump at fold, feet at end. She's prone, kinda like the photo above. Feet at top, knees at fold, head at end. And she's talking about some issues regarding their marriage which are troubling her, and as she's speaking, she can't see that he's gazing at her in some wonder. And then, out of nowhere, he says, "I wish I could lie like that." This statement upset her quite a bit, and they were divorced a few months later. And of course, if you have a reverence for the conventions of grammar, you have no choice but to blame her for misunderstanding a perfectly correct statement. But this is why I never say "lie" or "lying" unless I'm talking about dishonesty. Clarity and common sense demand that we f
But wait, there's more.
In college, when I was still a Secondary Education major, our Rhetoric prof told us about a group of American academics visiting colleagues in China, and the chairman of the American group brought, as a gift to the Chinese, a cheese ball, not knowing that most adult Chinese are lactose intolerant, and so giving a cheese ball was about as nice as giving a handful of dog poop. However, being accustomed to Americans, the Chinese received this thoughtless gift with grace and dignity. But here's what I'm getting at: if your readers or listeners might misunderstand what you're saying, regardless of how perfect your usage might be, or however intolerant their culture might be, what's more important to you? Expressing yourself clearly, or knowing (perhaps even deliberately proving) that you're right?