As I’ve been working through my draft, chopping and changing and adding and tweaking, there’s something I haven’t quite been able to reconcile.
On one level, this novel is a thriller. Something bad is happening – right from the beginning. Except my protagonist doesn’t know about it, and we’re seeing things from her point of view. I need to create a growing sense of dread, a sense that all is not right in the world – but from Grace’s perspective, for the majority of the time at least, everything is unfolding as it should. There are moments where her intuition tells her to be careful, but it’s hard to really work these without things seeming ham-fisted. And besides, she’s not stupid: if she was really uneasy then she wouldn’t take the steps she needs to for everything to pan out as it does.
When I was in the planning stages I thought perhaps I could tell the story through multiple voices, weave the different versions of reality through. I soon concluded that this wouldn’t work, that it would give too much away where I wanted to leave the reader guessing.
Except now I’m not so sure…
I wrote a character exercise last week to explore things as my antagonist sees them, and it turns out his voice is so strong that I don’t think I can silence it. He can’t have equal airtime in the novel – it is not really him that this story is about – but I think there can be flashes, moments of insight into the dark mind at work behind the scenes that will colour the reader’s interpretation of the rest.
That’s where I’m at right now anyway. I’m going to see what happens if I let him have his say at a few key points, whether I can manage to craft his interludes so they create that sense of dread without giving too much away. If I can pull it off it should add an element of dramatic irony as things unfold, give the reader a smidgen more knowledge than Grace has herself to filter their reactions to her through.
And if nothing else then just the process will give me more of an insight into what’s driving him, and that can be no bad thing.