Recently I’ve hit a few tough patches in Meet the Lidwells, where it just feels like I’ve slowed to a crawl and the story’s not going anywhere. I know what story I need to tell, but for some reason it’s been like slogging through mud trying to get there. I know this is a problem because when I as an author feel the sluggishness, I know my readers will feel the same thing. And I don’t want to do that.
So in this instance, I decided that maybe someone else’s point of view would be worth investigating. Instead of the kids in the band talking through their attempts on a comeback album after taking a much-needed hiatus, I realized that it might be a bit more interesting to tell this struggle from their manager’s point of view.
Why? I felt their story would be more interesting. The kids in the band have mostly grown up (the youngest is now 16 and the others are in or approaching their 20s), and from their view, they’re just hoping that the Big Comeback will work out. On the other hand, their manager has the thankless job of Making That Happen. Once I got started on that, everything was smooth sailing again.
Over the years, changing the POV when I’m stuck has definitely helped when I’m stuck. More often than not a different witness to the story will bring in a fresh take on the situation, maybe even create some needed conflict in the process by going against what the main characters want and expect. Even if I end up not using it, or rewriting it again from someone else’s point of view, at least I’ve managed to get myself out of that sluggish spot and back on track.
For me, it’s yet another way to work outside expectations. Forcing myself to think about something from a different angle almost always produces sometimes helpful but always interesting results.