Novel breakthrough

Very excited because I've made what seems like a breakthrough in the plan for my current novel project.

From the beginning, I've been struggling with a couple of key issues. First, and most importantly, was the limitation of a close 3rd person POV. I intended to stick to my main character throughout the book. During the course of the story, he uncovers a couple of plots that only tangentially intersect his own storyline. In order to discover these subplots, my main character Frank has to witness a lot of clues that he can synthesize, make sense of, only later (the moment when things to "click").

Unfortunately, communicating all these clues to Frank was taking up an inordinate number of pages. I was getting so bogged down in setting up the subplots that they were overwhelming the main story line. I couldn't think of a way around this except to work the subplot clues more deeply into the main narrative line -- condensing, so that both main plot and subplot lines were addressed in a single scene.

Then I realized that there was far too much subplot action going on necessarily offstage, in a place where Frank could never see or hear about it. The subplots wouldn't make sense without a long, long expository chapter like that which is plopped down in the third quarter of An Unpardonable Crime by Andrew Taylor.

What to do?

As with so many things, I finally realized that my first principles were getting in the way. I wanted a single point of view. Why? In homage to Martin Cruz Smith, whose Polar Star and Rose are two of my favorite books. But my story isn't sufficiently like them (no main crime for the rest of the story to orbit around), so the single POV wouldn't work.

I decided to have multiple 3rd-person POVs. I have misgivings about this -- multiple POVs can be considered lazy. And my first book, A Partial History, uses multiple 3rd-person POVs.

But so far, in the composition of the novel, the new scenes have really worked. I'm feeling a lot more energy sizzling in the new scenes I've written. Now I feel much more comfortable inventing motivations and plots for individual characters, because I know they'll be much easier to reveal. The reader can sit in on a solo scene with a character, or on scenes between two minor characters. The reader can know more about what's going on than my main character.

I'll post one of the new scenes later on. For now, I feel much more motivated and excited about this project than I have in quite some time.