1. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing from a fly's pov...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by spklvr, Dec 19, 2010.

    This was something I decided to try a while back, mainly because I needed to do something new. I feel like I haven't really evolved as a writer lately.

    Well, basically, I write like I'm in the room, watching the scene in front of me. There are no main character and you don't get into the character's heads. As the story progresses, you get to learn more about the characters as they reveal themselves to each other. You see them bond and grow.

    While I think the idea sounds great, I'm not sure what people's opinion on this kind of writing is. I have never read a book like this either. I'm just looking for opinions, advice and perhaps suggestions for books that did this well.
     
  2. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    When I read this post at first, I was confused because I thought you wanted to write a story from the fly's POV...but now I get it, "the fly on the wall."

    It could be an interesting thing to try. I can't really see reading a whole book like that, but after reading Slaughterhouse-Five, Saving Fish from Drowning, Equus, and The Stranger, I never say never!

    I can't really think of a literary work where they do that offhand, but if I think of one in the next few days or so, I'll let you know. I've read a lot of books, and sometimes things don't occur to me right away.

    The POV would be interesting, but I'm usually against style for style's sake; there would have to be a good reason for choosing such an unconventional technique, and you'd have to convey a whole story, complete with climax, from that POV which seems hard if you have no main characters and don't get inside anyone's head.

    I say it's worth a shot though. Try it for a few pages and see if you get anywhere or if you like the style. Once you know it a little, coming up with a scenario will probably be easier.
     
  3. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Are you saying that your characters will grow as you read through the chapters? I always (and always will) write my novels like this. In that's the case if it's dumbing information on one chatper, it would be kind of boring in my opinion. And I have never seen a book where the opening scene doesn't have a main character, but it might work.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    It can be done, but make sure there's a conflict right off the bat - people arguing, someone in tears, a conspiracy being plotted, etc - lots of readers (myself included) won't read through several opening pages of nothing but people making small talk, so I like to give a sense of conflict within the first sentence.

    Otherwise, though, it sounds great. And it might even be cool to do the literal fly's POV - I know it's not what you meant in the OP but still.
     
  5. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    Hey, now that I think of it, what you're describing is basically a movie or a play, but in book form. Stuff happens in front of you, but you can't really get in anyone's head. You just kind of see it and hear it without knowing what anyone is thinking.

    So I'd suggest reading plays or screenplays to see how it's done. That, or watch a movie or two and try to write about it without being in 1 guy's head.
     
  6. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    It can and has been done before (mostly in short fiction).

    Give it a try. Likely it won't quite end up sounding like you want, but will be a good experience for you as a writer.

    -Frank
     
  7. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's 4 am. I feel bad at explaining things...

    I am actually currently on page 182 of this story. Saying there are no main characters might be wrong, I just don't one a specific main. The story is about a group of six, and I don't want one to seem more important than the others.

    And I want the readers to guess what's going on in their heads. Let me give you a poor example. In a story I might write:

    - "He stopped and looked at the flowers. Their beauty captivated him to the point that it was hard for him to continue on.”

    Instead I could write:

    - "He stopped and turned towards the flowers. He looked at them for a long while with soft eyes before continuing.”

    You'd still guess he looked at them because they were beautiful, but you can't know for sure. Maybe it reminds him of something, maybe they just calm him, maybe he's not even thinking about the flowers, but something random. (This does not appear in my story btw...)

    The characters are all kind of forced together and have never met before. Originally I thought there would be a lot of dialog too, but it's actually mainly action. Not until about now (around page 200) in the story are we starting to really get to know the characters, but they have constantly been revealing little things about themselves during the action. For example, you learn that one of the characters really love dogs as he has trouble killing one, even though it's attacking him. And in a brief conversation they have to make the time pass, you learn that two of the characters have sisters they are a bit overprotective about (and so-on, until you start to get a grasp of the character and their reasoning).
     
  8. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is basically a movie in book form. :p
    I have tried reading scripts, but I often find that they leave too much up to the actors when it comes to showing. I'm also trying to create strong moods in my story, and that doesn't seem to be in screenplays.
     
  9. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    I know what you mean with screenplays and plays not telling the whole story. That's what will make yours unique, after all. So, I'm going to suggest something kinda odd, but here goes: read the newspaper. Find an article that's just about an event or whatever, and study it a bit. The writer is just reporting the facts without trying to get into anyone's head, and ideally, he is unbiased. They just say what's going on, who said what, and what other people think about what is said. It's not a perfect analogy, but it's worth a look, I think.
     
  10. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It could work. It reminds me of some of those horror films, where random people get thrown together and face some kind of adversity.

    What is your story about?
     
  11. Midnight Pete
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    Midnight Pete Member

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    Actually, that would be impossible. No one knows exactly how a fly perceives the world, and no one can know. They must possess a very basic level of sentience. The classic "fly on the wall" writing exercise would suppose a fly with human-level intelligence and consciousness. The fly on the wall would describe what it sees from an insect's vantage point but with human understanding, intelligence, and access to language.

    So it must be the purely metaphorical fly on the wall.
     
  12. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    A group of US soldiers that are doing a lot of dirty work for the government, and why they actually agree to risk their lives for money. I've drawn a lot of inspiration from my American cousin who's in the army.
     

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