Wednesday, 27 August 2008

First Tense mixed with third tense. Military Lit.

I don't know if it's bad form to do this but I don't want to keep pestering my friends so I thought I'd be a pest here - just this once, I promise. I've been working on a sort of chick lit novel since the dawn of time. It features three protagonists. They have a chapter each throughout the book. The whole book is written in first person present. Mel is a military wife - as I was. Lucy is a middle class trophy wife who's bankrupt - no comment. Erin is an ex traveller - never been that.

My tutor has suggested that I weave in some third person descriptions for more dramatic scenes, such as a fight scene during an officers mess ball. I had only alluded to the fight in the first draft but as he, my tutor thought my opening chapter was too slow, I've thought about opening with the fight - in third person descriptive.

Have I understood this weaving in of 3 person tense? The fight scene is very rough and unfinished. The tutor thinks, as I think Jen mentioned a while ago, that woman may be interested in how service wives, especially non commissioned officers' wives, live their lives behind the wire. If this is so I might have the RAF wife as the main protagonist and the other two as secondary characters. Have not got a clue if I can rewrite it all this way.

Have you got a headache yet? Can you tell I'm getting disheartened?

'Sitting Pretty'/'RAF Wives'/ 'The Never Ending M/S'

'You stupid, stupid cow.'

Sergeant Alan Jones, on the verge of tears and purple with rage, pushed his wife, out of sight, into the Mess cloak room. Racks of coats - faux fur, camel hair, Versace and Primark's finest - lined the room.

Rebecca Jones, suddenly sober, cowered away from him. 'I'm s..sorry, it was just a bit of fun.'

'A bit of fun?' Jones tilted his head sideways, 'I was this close,' he loomed over his wife, his finger and thumb in front of her face. ' This fucking close to promotion and you blew it.'

More description of fight.............

Of course, being a RAF wife or rather a 'wife of' as the military kindly refers to us - I've seen a few fights. I've seen fights between soldiers, fights between corporals and captains, I've even seen couples give each other a slap here and there but I've never heard of a man beating his wife up in the Warrant Officers Mess before.


Thank you for any comments. You'll be relived to know I'm off to Cornwall and won't be back blogging until late September. xxxx


Leatherdykeuk said...

That was certainly a pull to read the rest, though it's completely out of genre for me. I doubt he'd do more than swear at her, though -- wouldn't he wait until they were home?

Kate.Kingsley said...

I wanted to read on too ~ I wanted to know what she had done, how it had cost him the promotion, and what was going to happen about it later.

Also I have always been fascinated by what goes on behind the curtains of military domesticity, so I for one would relish the prospect of a 'behind the scenes' peek at that sort of lifestyle.

Hope you enjoy Cornwall! :-)

Fiona said...

Thanks Leather and Kate.

I agree that most abuse happens behind closed doors but sadly the combination of a tour in Bosnia or Iraq, the tax free alcohol in the Mess and PTS meant that I saw a fair bit of violence inside the camps. The services take care of their own, however, so you wouldn't read about it in the papers.

PS. The warrant officer of the mess used to measure the hem of our ball gowns to make sure they weren't more than four inches from our ankles. It was another world.

Debs said...

I enjoyed that very much and would definately want to read on.

I have no idea what it must be like to be a military wife, but can imagine that some/most/all of these men must see/experience things that are totally out of the norm that the rest of us who are not connected to the military have to deal with.


Zinnia Cyclamen said...

I'd be interested, too. And I love that ballgown hem detail - do put that in somewhere.

Lane said...

I'm also having squirmishes with POV in my wip so I sympathise. I'd be interested if anyone else jumps POV - particularly from third person to first. I'm trying to think of authors who have done this but not having much luck. Memory's going you see:-)

Helen Shearer said...

There are three sides to every story - my side, your side and the truth. Third person narrative gives you the opportunity to inject a little bit of the truth into the story, but I'd use it sparingly in this case. It would have greater impact if you use it only to show the difference between what the character would like to think is going on and what actually is going on.

seasprite69 said...

I have still not actually started my book (s) so can't comment about the first/third person stuff. However, I think you would appeal to a wide range of female readers with the army detail.I was addicted to Soldier Soldier and still have all the videos!

wordtryst said...

Hi Fiona,

Hope you enjoy your break in Cornwall. I don't see a problem with the switches in POV. Not being an expert, I can't advise on this; I have a few switches in POV in my current novel, and this is the first time I'm experimenting with this.

I will say, however, that ever since I read Erica Jong's Fear of Flying, I've been fascinated by the behind-the-scenes domestic carryings-on of the military. I suspect there's a wide audience for this type of novel, so all the best!