So I just signed off on what I am told are the final edits for Beanstalk and Beyond. [Pause for rejoicing.] On of the main issues on the second round was establishing “deep POV”. Beanstalk and Beyond is all first person from Jack’s point of view. What the wanted me to do was remove any reference found in Jack’s narration that pulls the reader outside of that current time and place; to make the narration as if he is telling the story in real time, as opposed to recounting it years afterwards.
This took a bit, because the original manuscript envisioned Jack writing in the future – towards the end of his life in fact. The working title of the series was The Autobiography of Jack the Giant Killer. My inspiration was not so much the volumes of YA novels which use the deep POV approach, but instead actual autobiographies such as Benvenuto Cellini.
This is from the original query letter:
This huge pile of ancient documents I’ve been trying to translate is breaking my heart. Even if every word is true, giants in the clouds with magic harps will never pass for Serious History. So much for my half-hour of glory on C-Span!
I had hopes to discover some rare historical insight into Dark-age Britain. As I picked my way through the mish-mash of Latin and Anglic script, though, what emerged was a first-person account of Jack and the Beanstalk.
That was the gag: I was “translating” this document. I even had in mind a deluxe leather bound edition with research footnotes. Nobody bit on that query.
Cellini’s autobiography is widely known and admired (for its pluck if not its accuracy), but it’s hardly a bestseller.
Since nobody actually reads this blog, I can share a secret here: Jack writes his autobiography from prison, from 1840’s America, because time travel. At one point in his life, he trades his left eye for The Wisdom, one of the effects of which is perfect recall of events ( and realization of their consequences).
Here’s another secret: I still have that mindset when I hand-write the first draft. The deep POV approach is an artifact of editing the manuscript for a modern audience.