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Wide Boy Eddie and the wall of doom

So Wide Boy Eddie, who I think I like very much despite all his typical diamond geezer patter, arrives to put in the bathroom yesterday morning. I was in a fairly foul mood at having to get up at 8am when I'd been up until 3am the night before (although to be fair this is because I was reading rather disreputable fanfic, the love of which dare not speak its name *g*)

Does anyone else get to this point where they're not doing anything but they just don't want to go to sleep? Or is this just me? I meant to log off two hours ago, said goodnight to C and everything. But I don't want to go to sleep.

In other news, I cannot stop listening to Black Lab's "Keep Myself Awake".

The Anvil Of Dramatic Irony plummets towards my head.

Anyway, the fragrant and lovely Eddie calls me down from my deeply intelligent morning activity -- lying in bed half-asleep, actively encouraging a dream in which my hallway is twice the size it really is and Laurence Llewelyn Bowen is painting my floor in pink swirls -- and points to the wall.

"Seedat," he says, in the tone which all householders come to dread.

The wall, from which he has removed the uber-ugly avocado-coloured tiles is a horrid grey, ill colour. He pokes at it. A lump of what is meant to be cement crumbles off. It's like marshmallow. There's an eggy fug of drains and damp in the air. There's a worm INSIDE the wall.

It dawns on me that I am beyond buggered.

Long story short: I have to pay to get the wall replastered and the FUBARed plasterboard wall must be boarded over with plywood and painted with resin. The person who owned this house before me was a jackass. I have to give Wide Boy Eddie 415 quid in cash tomorrow. Ouch.

* * *

Someone made the most kind, lovely offer to help me out yesterday. Shame I can't take them up on it. Some people really are wonderful.

* * *

I am reading a really good thriller -- "Forty Words for Sorrow", Giles Blunt. Set in Quebec, about a smalltown killer, possibly bent hero with a wife in the madhouse, smart, sparky heroine. I'm about 120 pages in and I like the atmosphere and the characters.

If this book pulls a "Wire in the Blood" switcheroo, I shall be miffed. I loved 'Wire in the Blood"s twist because it was so audacious that it took my breath away but I don't want to see it again.

It also probably broke a million rules on POV but -- confession time -- I think all that fic insistence on rigid POV delineation as anything other than a very rough rule of thumb is specious bullshit, to which people cling in order to point at other people and feel superior. A million and one excellent books shift POV within sections, chapters, and even paragraphs. I'm not advocating ping-pong POV, but all this stuff where people point it out when it switches and get all sniffy is just bollocks.

Before you got into fic discussion did you notice persistent POV switches in books you read? Honestly, I'm interested. I didn't notice it hitherto, but I do now -- although it really doesn't bother me. I'm more annoyed that I notice it. I was wondering if this was something that was taught in schools as a "bad thing".

* * *
I think maybe I was talking arse about Bad Blood yesterday.

Eh. This often happens.



Jan. 16th, 2002 05:38 am (UTC)
Re: POV and the hoppy switching and such.
Robbie, no, I don't mean you. (and stop that) And C, no, we will never agree about it. *g*

I agree with you about the sudden boing out of POV being crazy-making, because I don't like it much either. However, I think that mid-scene POV handoffs are fine, particularly when they're done with skill.

In the earliest version of Arizona Highways I read, Fialka had mid-scene POV switches (not many) but the way she accomplished them was skilled I thought. POV-switching would coincide with entrances, exits, handovers of objects which had significance and I thought they worked. She got rid of them all in the end and it wasn't to the detriment of the piece that she did that so... uh, I forget what my point is. Oh yeah, that they're not necessarily bad.

I just think that sometimes on the newsgroup, some people used to take a story which was imperfect but challenging in some way and used POV switches as an excuse to dismiss it as a piece of garbage, which is just idiotic. I always imagine them as being like Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers, pointing and squealing. (again, no one here)

Alas, I see that I am the POV leper, getting cross about something that everyone else regards as normal rule application, shaking my beta bells and yelling "uncool, uncool" *g*

I just think that rules can as easily be a straitjacket as scaffolding.
Jan. 16th, 2002 05:52 am (UTC)
Re: POV and the hoppy switching and such.
Why does "skint" sound so much better than "broke"? Why can't I say "skint" without feeling self-conscious?

"Wuthering" is also a cool word. This is so not fair.

I noticed POV switches before fic, but I don't know if I noticed them before getting serious about writing. I don't remember before getting serious about writing. (I was a very serious kid, okay?)

The overstrictness on POV isn't unique to fic; it comes up in a lot of writing workshops, because it's a relatively easy thing that beginning writers can try, and it will improve most stories somewhat. It doesn't help those writers whose natural voice is omniscient, or who are really trying to do something that benefits from switching POVs.

I haven't met that many writers who gravitate towards omniscient, but maybe they're all giving up in despair at being told they're doing everything wrong. That's a scary thought. I'm all depressed now. I think I will pick the cartoon hug icon to cheer myself up.
Jan. 16th, 2002 08:54 am (UTC)
Re: POV and the hoppy switching and such.
Big confession time - I love omniscient. Almost all the snippets that become drafts for me start out in om pov, it's just what I do naturally. But there's usually such an outcry about omniscient (not by my betas, just in general) that I get wigged out early on and change it. -Rev
Jan. 16th, 2002 08:59 am (UTC)
Re: POV and the hoppy switching and such.
No, I didn't pay that much attention to pov before I started writing myself. It wasn't reading fic as such that made me aware of it so much as trying to write it. If I look back on earlier fic and earlier stories it's almost always been one pov, intimate 3rd (or first person). So I lean toward that anyway. But I don't recall noticing or being bothered by bouncing povs until I started writing fic in the last few years.

Um, no, that's not really correct. Dunnett made me aware of pov, because it's hard not to notice when the lead character in a six-volume series gets no more than a dozen pages in his own pov, and the rest of the story is told by those around him. I would say Dunnett used omniscient with a level of skill few could match.

I think that mid-scene POV handoffs are fine, particularly when they're done with skill.

And I think that's the point there. I don't feel capable of handling those handoffs very well, and I've seen few ficcers who are. I know one of Meg's last XF stories got a lot of attention for the pov-switches, and yet they still distracted me. LeGuin and Dunnett don't distract me. (And yes I'm aware of the absurdity of holding anyone up to that standard *g*.)

Part of the issue for me is consistency: if it's done just once in a while it stands out too much. Do it all the way through so it's clear it's intentional, and I'll be much more forgiving.

I never did see the first version of AH that you did -- by the time I came on board she had taken most of those out except for the one at the end of the scene on the clifftop.

Of course, I'm a hypocrite, I realize -- "Ferryman" has a pov-flip in the last paragraph, where it goes from Scully to Skinner. I should be brave enough to try this more often, and then perhaps I would agree with you more. I think I'm just unconvinced of my ability and thus skeptical of everyone else's. Which, yes, shortchanges everyone else. Feh.