Before I turn this blog over to Cyndi Lord, let me share something about my writing journey.
One day early 2014, I completed my first novel’s manuscript through the NaNoWriMo challenge. I wrote furiously, finished the story and necessary number of words. Delighted I was but knew it was riddled with zillions of flaws I wasn’t even aware of. I was a reader, an avid one at that, not a writer. I had always wanted to write a novel, but as many of you experience, life just gets in the way.
If it isn’t a demanding job putting you on edge, even holding down a couple of jobs, or little ones scampering around the house, to dealing with health issues—all taking the front seat, how is a want-to-be writer to write?
I refuse to make more excuses, yes, that’s what they are. Why couldn’t I read less, for example, stay up a little longer than the rest of the household or get up an hour earlier? It’s a matter of learning how to carve out time, taking your writing off the want-to-do list and putting it on the have-to-do list.
Now, I fall asleep at night thinking about the next scene, tweaking the previous scene. I’m making progress. I have so much more to learn!
Where are you in your journey? I would love to hear from you.
Today, Cyndi Lord joins us with an article she wrote on the novel element Point of View (POV)—the focus of my month’s study. I hope you benefit from this article.
Writing in Point of View
By Cyndi Lord, Bestselling author
Stay in POV; these words fill a writer with anxiety and feelings of failure. They thought they were staying in point-of-view. Many books about the style of writing and articles indicating a knowledge of how the dilemma is solved between the pages leave us more confused. I’m willing to share the secret with you here. Just like showing and not telling, you, the author, have to shut up. Yes, I told you to shut up. Why? You are not in the story. You are not the POV character, and everything you know has nothing to do with what the POV character knows.
Let me give you an example of a real problem in stories. The POV character sees a woman for the first time and knows nothing about her. Author knows everything. Author has developed the new character. Author writes background and motivation of the new character to inform the reader. The reader jumped out of the head of the POV character because the author butted into the story like a pesky child, got in the face of the reader, and shouted, “I know stuff,” while waving both hands above their headg. Authors writing information to a scene they alone have in their character development notes is intrusive and unnecessary.
Imagine you have placed a specialized camera on the forehead of your POV character and through their sight will shoot a silent movie. Wait. This camera is specialized and hooked up to the POV character’s senses. The sight, hearing, taste, ability to feel, smell, and think will all be reported through the camera. From your first sentences to the end of the POV of that character’s scene, nothing, and I mean nothing not coming from that camera can be written. Why? Because you are writing in POV of that character. Add all the senses you can. Put the reader in the POV character’s body and leave them there. Imagine it is our POV character Brenda, who sees the new character for the first time. Let’s build a scene that gives Author’s information from Brenda.
Plush carpeting encased Brenda’s high heels when she followed a hostess into the dining area. Forks and knives of other patrons tapped against china over the rumble of quiet conversations. Roasting meat, spices, and hints of expensive wine filled the air with inviting aromas. She licked her lips and strawberry lip balm caressed her tongue. The hostess smiled a gestured to an overstuffed chair upholstered in diamond tuck, cream material. The table for two was covered with a rose-colored lace tablecloth. Less than a foot away, a woman in her early twenties sat alone at the next table. Her silk gown was outdated and the overlay sagged and showed piling on the bodice. Brenda smiled, nodded, and took her seat.
Note; I have set the scene. Everything is from Brenda’s senses. What she will learn about the other woman will happen during dinner when they strike up a conversation. Let’s say they become friends or client and attorney, wherever the first encounter takes them, nothing can be learned about the other woman or anyone else except through Brenda. Author can never report anything another character thinks, feels, smells, tastes, sees, or thinks. Brenda can see and hear another person. Imagine a scene where a waiter pours boiling water into a cup sitting on a table in front of a man. A little boy runs into the waiter and the stream of water moves over the seated man’s lap. Brenda “sees” what happens, “sees” the man’s facial expression, “hears” him scream, and can “think” (in italics) how much that must hurt. Brenda cannot report through her senses what the man or the waiter feel.
Keep the specialized camera going all the time. Your novel can be better than a movie because this camera gives you the ability to use all the senses of your POV character to keep the reader engrossed.