Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sweating blood

Just how can something so short be so difficult?  The other day I spotted a call for submissions for a 'pen portrait' - a description of a particular type of character in around 200 words.  The piece needed to be in either second or third person point of view and the subject of this particular call was 'hypochondria'.

Most of my family have been obsessive about their health one way or another, so it seemed like a rich seam to mine.  I recalled one particular incident, which was brief but quite dramatic and illustrated the theme quite well, and managed to reproduce it in just under 200 words.  And thought I was happy.

This morning I've had another look, and have come to the conclusion that it isn't in second person point of view at all.  That particular style is notoriously difficult to pull off, and clearly I haven't pulled.  What I seem to have done is wandered into first person point of view, but addressed to 'you' as the other character.  So I decided to shift it into third person, which is at least easier to use, and work from there.

And even that hasn't worked!  It's in third person, but parts of it are still from another character's point of view and I can't seem to shift it.  I'm going to have to think very hard about this one, because the magazine I want to send it to is pretty picky and I need to get it right.  You wouldn't think 200 words could be so tricky...

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