Men Who Don’t Wear Pants & Other Lessons I’m Learning

As I mentioned the other day, I’m working on a novella for the March Novel Writing Challenge. This was going to be a Top Sekrit Project because I’m still not sure how it will turn out. I mean, at this point, I’m not even sure it’ll be a novella; it may end up being a full-length novel. Also, it’s very different than Promise, Purpose and Book 3, yet some things are familiar because it’s kind of part of the Soul Savers Series. And since I’m not good at keeping secrets – obviously – I can provide some insight because I’m learning a lot.

First, the “real” books of the Soul Savers Series tell Alexis’s story. We’re always in her head with 1st person POV. This new WIP, however, tells three people’s stories with 3rd person, changing POV. Because I’ve been so obsessed busy with Tristan (and Alexis), I haven’t written in 3rd person in a very. long. time. And I can’t remember ever trying to write with changing POVs. It’s excellent writing practice. I just hope I can pull it off. The main lessons to keep in mind with changing POV:

  • Don’t change POVs in the middle of a scene unless you have good reason and you’re a complete mastermind writer.
  • Use the POV that best fits the scene. Usually this is the character who has the most at stake in this particular scene.
  • Use POV switches to add tension. Leave one character dangling in a tree to go see what the other character is doing. Of course, this has to be done carefully. The scene switch must be necessary, not just a hat trick to add suspense.

Second, the main Soul Savers books are contemporary – take place right now. Well, Promise was 9 years ago, but that’s not exactly major history or anything. This WIP, however, is historical. As in ancient history. Seriously. It takes place around 300-100 BC in the Ancient Greece/Roman Empire era…and location. And this is freakin’ hard!

My mind wants to keep going to the Medieval Ages or to Braveheart or the like and I have to tell myself, “No! Further back!” I’ll need to reacquaint myself with Troy (no problem there!), Gladiator and possibly Passion of the Christ because I’m having a hard time visualizing what they wear, what weapons they use and where they live. I’ve been doing lots of research and here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Historians have very little in the way of clothing artifacts from that time. They have jewelry and art. The art does portray people in clothing, but it’s still hard to see what the subjects are wearing.
  • Men dressed more ornately than women. In fact, men’s clothing demonstrated class, whereas women pretty much all wore the same thing, regardless of class or status. They displayed wealth by adorning their hair and clothing with jewels. Women wore togas in very early Roman times, but later, the only women who wore them were prostitutes. So the toga was like their scarlet letter – a mark of disgrace for the woman, but a mark of honor for a man. Go figure.
  • Everyone wore two basic pieces of clothing – the peplos or chiton and a himation. The peplos and chiton are like tunics and the himation is a cloak. What does this mean? Remember those movies mentioned above? Do you recall seeing anyone wearing pants? Well, they don’t. Not even warriors wore pants back then. How did they keep their legs warm and protected??? I guess in all their brilliance, they didn’t figure that one out. Men without pants makes writing a somewhat romance quite interesting. Kind of like writing about the Scots.

I don’t know if any of these lessons have been useful for you, but maybe they’ve at least been enlightening. Have you learned anything interesting this week for the sake of your writing? Please, do share!

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4 Responses to Men Who Don’t Wear Pants & Other Lessons I’m Learning

  1. Trisha Wolfe says:

    Oh this sounds amazing! And I know where you’re coming from, my current WIP is a completely different genre than I’m used to writing. But it sounds like you’re digging in deep and coming up with some great ideas! Best of luck to you on this new adventure, I can’t wait to hear more about it =)

  2. lol. the places your mind goes.

  3. Jessica Tate says:

    I love the tidbits you offer about POV… it is so pivotal in stories to make sure you write it correctly or it can make an entire story fall flat! I look forward to reading more from you!

  4. Pingback: The Plot Thickens…Into a Big Mess | Author Kristie Cook Official Website

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