Mostly, the new long synopsis seems to be working. The marked up notes from my mentor, Sandra, were generally positive, with a few minor points to think about. She suggested that the next step should be to work on the submission to agents’ package – 1 page synopsis, cover letter & first 3 chapters/50 pages. Another step closer … yay!
So, I have started by re-drafting the first 50 pages. Having the long synopsis to refer to is great and I’m finding the writing is going well. I have opened up a new word document for this. Where appropriate, I am copying and pasting passages that already work well from the previous draft, but mostly I am writing it anew. Techniques which I have learnt from Sandra on writing mean that it’s much clearer and sparklier. However, I am really struggling with one aspect of the writing: showing the main characters thoughts.
IN GRAV(e)Y DANGER! or Gravy Danger! (as it is now called) is written in the third person, past tense, but from the main characters point of view. This has good and bad points. By being from the Gavin’s view, it really draws the reader in and makes them empathise with him. The drawback is that you can only show what he knows – unlike an omnipresent narrator who can give additional information. One of the ways I am trying to show what he knows or feels about things is through his thoughts. This sounds simple enough, but there are so many ways to do it!
Thanks to some very helpful advice from fellow members of SCBWI_BI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) I have learnt loads about how to do this. Below is an article on Deep POV and another is by Cheryl Reif – Writing Your Character’s Thoughts: 3rd Person Limited POV:
The issue I have is whether the thought should be in the past or present tense.
If I was to write his thoughts as if Gavin was speaking out loud, they would definitely be in the present tense.
e.g. Gavin burst into the room. “Hmm…so where’s that alien?”
However, as a thought would it be the same?
A) Gavin burst into the room. Hmm…so where’s that alien? (present tense)
B) Gavin burst into the room. Hmm … so where was that alien? (past tense)
C) Gavin burst into the room. Hmm … so where was that alien? (past tense)
Sandra has advised me to experiment using different ways and to read it out loud to anyone willing to listen! This should help me to decide which works best for my style and voice. So far I am favouring C.
Please can you comment below as to which style I should use? Many thanks.