It's Just Us Here discussion

34 views
Narrative Style > What isn't revealed...

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Sullivan | 13 comments Mod
So you'll notice as you read the first three books that there's a lot of stuff that I leave out, especially with regard to Mark's motivations (though a lot of them are revealed at the end of Book Three).

1) I reveal some of *his* story in the natural flow of *my* story. I think that's good and natural.
2) Some of his perspective is left up to the reader to put together instead of me explicitly 'thinking' it or 'speaking' it.


As a reader, do you think this is a good balance? Would you prefer a more explicit understanding of what Mark was going through? How well can you really know a person that you just met? I didn't know Mark as well in those first months as I do now, so I tried to capture the way you understand someone better the longer you know them.

I think what I attempted to do with the 'hindsight narration' parts is to show that while I'm living my story, there's also a second story spinning next to mine that would read completely differently.

Does that make sense? I'm trying to give you my full perspective, but also enough information to make an informed guess about what Mark's story would look like, if he wrote one.

I hope that makes my narration compelling, in some way? It seems like everyone has read a story like what Mark went through... boy meets boy, boy falls for boy, boy gets the boy. So how much do I really need to be explicit about?

I struggle with this balance and have thought about it a lot. I'd appreciate any reader input on this general idea. Thanks!


message 2: by Gabi (new)

Gabi | 46 comments Are you talking about writing from Mark's point of view? If you do, I assume it would be in third person? Like, when he stormed into Tim's office.

Most of the time I prefer reading from both main characters' POV, because it provides better understanding. And sometimes I get frustrated when I don't get both. But there are a few cases, when it's not needed, nor wanted. And I like to go with assumptions. It makes me more engaged with the story. I like to think up a storm, and figure out myself what the other guy is thinking.

You did a great job capturing Mark's thoughts. It could be interesting, seeing his side of the story. But honestly, I think it would ruin the magic. :D And being in your head.... It's a captivating place. :)
And writing from Mark's POV could be challenging. I mean, every second word would be 'fuck' or something even worse. LoL

But joking aside, I would love to hear Mark's take on some things, but maybe in a side project, or a short story. Or maybe choose some scenes, that you think could be important for us readers, to see a different side of the story. That would probably be the best choice. (Like maybe what happened on that hike, after that drunken night; or when he met Alex). IF you can squeeze it in your schedule.

I was perfectly happy with your writing so far, and my initial thought was 'HELL NO, don't change anything' , but now I can't help but think 'And what about Mark'. Now you poked the bear! Ha! :)

But I would definitively NOT do what a lot of authors do, alternating between the two POV's throughout the whole book. That's a firm NO!

I hope I gave you an acceptable answer. I kind of confused myself there a bit. ;)


message 3: by annob (new)

annob | 27 comments Interesting questions, and I bet many readers will have strong, and opposite opinions.

Some of the books I've enjoyed the most have been single POV. One was even single POV halfway through, then completely switched to single POV of the second MC the rest of the way. As my favourite British romance writer once said in an interview; "Romance, at its core, is built on emotional escalation". For me that statement rings so true. In my opinion there is no quicker way to kill that romance buzz than to do a dual POV and have both characters inner voices reveal 'I lurv him, but does he like me back?' too early in the plot. So I'm glad you didn't do that. Now, your story isn't a fictional romance so concept rules out the window I guess. :)

While I read 'The Book of Beginnings: It's Just Us Here' I had no objections to (almost) exclusively get Chris' POV. It felt natural in a self-portrait to see the story from his eyes only. Admittedly it did cross my mind of reasons why an otherworldly good-looking and such a popular guy (view spoiler). But I also really liked that we got some bits and pieces in late chapters of BoB, of (view spoiler).

To summarize, I prefer the story as it is now with the reader having to guess what goes on in Mark's mind based on how Chris perceives Mark's actions. It's a large part of the charm of the story for me. But we'll see if I change my opinion as I continue to read more of the first three books.

(Spoiler tags above are safe to click on by anyone who have read BoB.)


message 4: by annob (last edited Apr 28, 2018 12:41PM) (new)

annob | 27 comments Gabriella wrote: "But honestly, I think it would ruin the magic. :D And being in your head.... It's a captivating place. :) [...] I was perfectly happy with your writing so far, and my initial thought was 'HELL NO, don't change anything'"

Lol, you captured perfectly what I was trying to say in my post. :D


message 5: by Gabi (new)

Gabi | 46 comments Mhm :) I guess I would be happy either way. But yeah, I think I'm with you there!


message 6: by XiaXia (new)

XiaXia | 16 comments I agree with both Gabi and Annob. This is Chris's memoir and I personally enjoyed meeting Mark through Chris's eyes. Chris's voice has a certain purity and light and that was what made us all fall in love with It's Just Us Here. We connected to your voice, not Mark's, even if we adored Mark.

Mark can write his own story, in his own POV, in another book ;) and I bet we will all buy it to read his perspective.


message 7: by Gabi (new)

Gabi | 46 comments "Mark can write his own story, in his own POV, in another book ;) and I bet we will all buy it to read his perspective."

Only if Chris edits it first! LoL


message 8: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Sullivan | 13 comments Mod
Haha. You guys rock.

This traitorous thought popped in my head as I edited a section in the second book where it felt like a potential reader might like a little more contemporaneous information. I'd be interested to see what you think when you get there.

There's a portion in a much later book where I reveal a scene with Mark and a wedding band (while following Mark's POV)... so you, the reader, will know a couple things before I (in the past) do. Though I'm also the narrator... so that's confusing. But I think it's done right and in a playful way. It also makes me look foolish and Mark look clever, which is a plus...

But in Book Two, pulling this POV trick would not be playful, and would actually be sad. I like the idea of the reader believing Mark to be so carefree and non-serious because that was one of the things that I found attractive about him and admired. He has a very buoyant personality.

Thing to look for: Does Mark being a glutton for punishment get too overwhelming at any point in the first three books? If so, I can maybe come up with a POV trick to make it go down smoother, or more understandably.

I think playing it as a mystery where the reader discovers what's the driver behind Mark's motives at the same time I do is the right call. Even if I now wonder if you won't be banging your head against the wall just wanting me to 'get to the good stuff' and quit punishing him (and myself).

(view spoiler)


And as Gabby suggested, the memories with Alex will have some split POV, but I'm debating how much. At that point in the story we suddenly have three main characters forming a relationship, instead of two. Alex and Mark interact a lot, sometimes for important moments without me.

I guess I'm struggling with the later books because I want you to 'live' all the good moments with Mark, me and Alex, even if I wasn't there! And I want Mark to have his time with Alex without me interfering with the narration. And in the last book, I *have* to follow Mark's POV for significant amount of time because he was the hero of that portion.

Tough choices.

And as for annob's 'otherworldly good-looking' comment... I think you're putting words in my mouth. I distinctly remember saying 'as ugly as a rhinoceros' . ;)


message 9: by Gabi (new)

Gabi | 46 comments "There's a portion in a much later book where I reveal a scene with Mark and a wedding band (while following Mark's POV)... so you, the reader, will know a couple things before I (in the past) do. Though I'm also the narrator... so that's confusing. But I think it's done right and in a playful way."

Looking forward to it! :D

"It also makes me look foolish and Mark look clever"

That's a first! Haha! ;D

"But in Book Two, pulling this POV trick would not be playful, and would actually be sad."
"... those chapters could kind of read like a slow-march horror, or like there's going to be a train wreck."

Yes, we readers like happy endings, the playfulness, the sexy scenes, and we like to laugh, love it when the story is light-hearted.
BUT... if you look at my bookshelf, there's a lot of stories there, that make me cry, and that's not a coincidence. Personally I love all the above mentioned stuff, but I like seeing the ugly parts too. I like a bit of pain, and suffering in my stories. (Sorry!!!) That's what makes the story, your story, complete.
For now (in the first book), it seems that Mark is a bit of a dunce, and doesn't care much about anything, besides having fun, fun, fun. Don't get me wrong, I like that about him, but that's not all there is to his personality. He has a more serious, and caring side (of course you know that), which we already saw towards the end of BoB, and in some of the emotional scenes, you were able to capture that perfectly.

So, what I'm trying to say is 'Bring on the ugly!' Even if it's from Mark's POV. Or especially then. So readers can see that he's not just a pretty face.

"Does Mark being a glutton for punishment get too overwhelming at any point in the first three books?"

I'm only at 40% in the first book, and so far not at all, and I don't think it will be later on. That's just Mark for you. :D

"I think playing it as a mystery where the reader discovers what's the driver behind Mark's motives at the same time I do is the right call."

Indeed, it is!

"the memories with Alex will have some split POV, but I'm debating how much."

Hmm... I think it should be tipped in your favor. But I'm curious as hell about how Mark dealt with the whole thing.


In my book you can do no wrong, so whatever you decide....Though it seems to me you've already decided, you're just looking for ...affirmation. :)


message 10: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Sullivan | 13 comments Mod
Corinne wrote: " Doesn't testosterone do it's thing whether the brain wants to or not. And, you see his interest but your non-responsive...."

You're right about the 'by design' thing. The tail end of Book One (skipped in BoB) has Mark kind of losing control around me a few times. Being extra physical.

I put him in his place. That's how our relationship was for a while. He would get 'too hot' so I would pull back. Then he would try to push me further the next time I opened up. I tried to shake him, but he really latched on to me.

By my own internal standards, I was extremely responsive. Little by little, I gave him everything, holding nothing back and expecting him to get uncomfortable first. I had to know what it meant--that he was gay--but I was more than happy to pretend otherwise. To pretend like we were just really close friends because that was my ideal kind of partnership. I'm good at pretending.

I don't know how Mark didn't lose his mind, or eventually give up.

With regard to me "playing it as a mystery"...

(view spoiler)

Also, this friends-to-lovers thing happens over one summer, which feels incredibly fast to me. Most romances you might be used to have lust/attraction in the first few pages and that's how you know the to heroes are going two get together. That's just not how my story went. 0.o

At all.

If you're willing to subject yourself to even more headbanging, you're welcome to have a beta read through the first three books (friends to lovers). :)

Gabi:
Affirmation: You got me. Any time you write something, you go through ups and downs. Sometimes you look at it and think: "This is the best thing ever written in all of human history!" Then you look at it in a different way and think: "Why did I tell it that way! Why, Chris? Why?"

Haha. At least the Bucks lost last night, so I'll have one less thing to bring down my mood.


message 11: by annob (new)

annob | 27 comments Aw, I was hoping you'd accept the offer to beta-read, Corinne! But I accept your choice of course.


message 12: by Creative Orange (new)

Creative Orange (Rumell Khan) (rkrespectedmember) So what is this discussion about.


back to top