I sit in my cold, wintery room in DC and think about Philip K. Dick and his craziness, about alternate realities just like the lateral ones he spoke about in his essays, about the Pre-socratics and their obsession with the element that unified everything…
But I also think about writing and its beauty. I sit with a pile of papers from the manuscript TREE WARS, thinking that it’s mostly trash. But in reading that trash, I have made an astonishing discovery- that the third person is just as malleable as the first. Take the following scene:
“A man walks a dog through the DC streets in the fog.”
Seems easy enough and looks like a normal third person scenario.
Now add some flavor:
“A man pulled the mutt’s leash through the wintry fog.”
Now add some feeling:
“A man dragged the mutt forward in the fog. It was his girlfriend’s dog that she had abandoned with him before she drove her car to California. It was a lousy mutt that resembled a dirty back sponge.”
Granted, the last one has more detail, it also starts to shape a character and voice.
As I read some of my first attempts at third person voice, I am reminded that there are ways to dig deep into the character’s state of mind without explicitly mentioning feeling. It is a beautiful world- the one of words.