Showing posts with label POV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label POV. Show all posts

Friday, July 3, 2015

Multiple Points of View: Good or Bad?

POV (Point of View), is an topic that could fill whole blogs.  My question today is this:  What do you think of multiple POVs in a novel?  I'm not talking about head-hopping (seeing into multiple characters' heads in the same scene, jumping from one to the other as convenient).  I'm talking about telling one chapter or scene from one character's POV and then using a different character's POV for the next chapter/scene.

In my YA fantasy novel, Far-Knowing, I divide each chapter into 2-4 clearly marked sections which alternate between two characters' POVs (with a third making a few appearances).  The two main POV characters are two young apprentice mages, both young women, but with different backgrounds, skills, aims, and opinions about the world.  And they don't particularly like each other.  I loved writing the story from both points of view because it showed how the world is more gray than black and white, and that two people can interpret the same event completely differently. 


I've read quite a few books told from multiple points of view, including one of my favorite YA fantasy trilogies, Hilari Bell's Farsala, and a little one you may have heard of:  Game of Thrones.  


It's interesting to me, however, how divisive the style is.  Look at a couple of reviews of Far-Knowing:


"I normally don’t like stories that switch a lot from one point of view to another, and back again. There have been rare cases where I did end up liking them, in spite of multiple POVs --- but this book is the first time I remember finishing a book and thinking that the multiple points-of-view not only failed to detract from the story, but also made the story better. From the perspective of someone like me who is biased against that practice, this is quite a testament to Melinda Brasher’s skill as a writer. It’s terrific."
-from a 5-star Amazon review
Vs.

"But for me this book had a major problem, and this was the manner in which it jumped from one character's point of view to another character's point of view. Many times, just as I was getting into the story, the point of view changed, and I had to reestablish the context. Some readers don't mind this kind of style, so I think many readers will enjoy this book more than I did."
-from an otherwise positive 3-star Amazon review

And these:

"The characters were well developed and you really got to see into Kalli and Ista's minds. I do however think that the POV switches came too frequently. I would've preferred the format to be different, but it wasn't too distracting."
-from a 3.5-star review

"I absolutely loved the changing perspective of different points of view of individual characters. Things aren’t exactly as they seem to be. Very true."
-from a 5-star Amazon review

Out of curiosity, I just looked at reviews of Game of Thrones that mention point of view (8 POV characters, by the way), and most say that it adds so much depth, that we really get to know all the POV characters, that it brings the story to life, that it shows how even the bad guys can justify their actions and aren't all bad.  Several mention that they thought it would be confusing or unnecessary with so many POVs, but that it worked.  Several say it WAS confusing at bits but it was worth it.  A few have warnings that the multiple POVs may put off readers looking for a simple tidy read.  

So, what do you think?  Have you ever written anything in this style?  Do you have any examples of books you love (or don't love) told like this?  When you read one, do you find yourself hurrying through one or more POVs to get to your favorite character?  I'd love to hear in the comments.

And to see for yourself what you think of the POVs in Far-Knowing, Farsala (Fall of a Kingdom), or Game of Thrones, click the links below.


Far-Knowing, by Melinda Brasher
Fall of a Kingdom (Farsala #1) by Hilari Bell
Game of Thrones by Geroge R.R. Martin

Melinda Brasher loves casual hiking, taking photos of nature, playing in the shallow little river that runs through her Czech town, and hanging out at home writing.  Her short fantasy story, "Chaos Rises" is now FREE on Amazon (and everywhere else).  Her microfiction (38 words) recently won honorable mention in On the Premises' Mini Contest #25.  Read "Dusk" for free here.  Or visit her online at www.melindabrasher.com


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Writing Monologues


A number of years ago I attended a workshop given by David Page. It was one of the most inspiring workshops I have ever attended. I realize now how important that workshop was to the improvement of my writing, and I highly recommend all new writers (actually all writers new and experienced) to practice writing monologues. The following is just a list of points he gave in that workshop. As I read over them, it occurred to me that they can apply to all writings in the fiction genre. I thought I would share them with you. The list is not long. I hope everyone can find at least one point that will help them.
            
             1.  If you don’t develop a good character, you cannot have a good monologue.
            
             2.  Don’t sit in the easy seat when you want to write monologue. Write about
                 something you don’t know about.
                 Note: This is certainly different from what I’ve been told, but you have to
                 admit it would challenge you, and I love a challenge.)

             3.  Learn to do interviews.

             4.  Go to where people tell you not to go -- Taboo Land.

             5.  Find your hook.

             6.  In order to be somebody, you have to see/be everybody.

             7.  Got to feel your character’s heartbeat in their monologue. Should have attitude.
           
             8.  Monologue does not have to have just one emotion.

             9.  If you write something phony, it brings your work to a standstill.

            10.  Do not write about something you do not have feelings about.
           
            11.  To make it real-- it has to have connections to other things:  place, personalities
                    that are insinuated, etc.

            12.  Need a tone to your dialogue. Needs to sound individual. Imbed the tone into
                   the monologue.

            13.  When writing a monologue, remember what it is-- don’t make it its own novel
                    within your novel.

            14.  You have to know who you are in order to write good dialogue.

            A monologue has one main character, and the monologue is written from that character’s POV. You can use either or both exterior dialogue or interior dialogue. The monologue must be more creative and more personal than a manuscript that has more than one character.

            Everyone is different, and we all have our own methods, but I like to sit down and write a monologue just for the practice. I have found that it can also help me when I get a bad case of writer’s block. It seems to stimulate my creativity. At any rate, it is good practice for improving your writing skills, especially if you are a young writer.

Faye M. Tollison
Author of:  To Tell the Truth
Upcoming books:  The Bible Murders
                              Sarah’s Secret
Member of:  Sisters In Crime
                     Writers on the Move





                        
                

Monday, August 6, 2012

Basic Writing : From Pre-Writing to Editing



Basic Writing : From Pre-Writing to Editing


Pre-Writing
Concept/Idea (Brainstorm about chosen idea. Write everything that comes to mind.)

Conflict/Problem (Without a problem there is no story. Be sure the problem is solvable.)
            Possible Conflicts: man vs man, man vs nature, man vs self, man vs society, man vs circumstances

Characters (No more than 7 main; the story becomes unmanageable and readers lose track.
 Devise: Names, Personalities, Relationships, Appearances, What makes them special.)

Plot (Devise 3 attempts to solve the problem. Then figure out why they won't work?)

Solution/Climax (How does the main character solve the problem? Is it reasonable as you’ve written her/him?)

Conclusion (Wrap up loose ends with all of the characters.)

Also Pre-Writing
Opening-be sure your beginning snatches the reader’s attention (pull action from within the story then go back and begin at the beginning to catch the reader up)

1st Plot Point-main character discovers there is a problem

2nd Plot Point-main character feels threatened but unsure what to do

3rd Plot Point-problem is at its worst and seems hopeless THEN main character figures out what to do

Climax-problem or antagonist pulls out all the stops to ‘get’ main character

Denouement-main character about to give-in then finds courage and knowledge to solve the problem

Resolution-main character ends the problem for good then wraps up loose ends with other characters

Writing
There are two main types of writers, although many of us fall into combo categories:  Planners and Pantsers.

Planners don’t write until they have a basic outline of how the story will unravel. Some even outline each chapter. Planning doesn’t mean you can’t change something, or add more while writing a chapter. It simply helps you remember everything you wanted to include in the story. (This is how I write.)

            Pantsers (writing by the seat of your pants) begin writing and don’t stop until the story is told. This technique is very popular but requires extreme editing and revising. It also allows for free flow of imagination and creativity. (This is how Odessa came out and why it needed (and still needs) so much revising/editing.)

New paragraph for each new thought or idea or speaker.

Use quotation marks around the “words” spoken by the character. Instead of dialogue tags (he said, she remarked) use action. (His gaze flicked away from her face. Her voice dropped so low he could barely hear her.)
Each speaker requires a new paragraph.

Watch verb tenses: if you start in the past keep all of your verbs past tense; if you write in the present tense make sure they are all present tense verbs.

            Right-He ran down the road then stopped at the intersection.
            Wrong-He ran down the road then stops at the intersection.

Present tense is seldom used. I find present tense confusing and disarming. You are telling a story that occurred in the past, so use past tense verbs.
Watch out for point of view (POV).

            POV confuses a lot of beginning writers. It means knowing what a character is thinking or planning. Knowing their viewpoint.

            Many MG stories are generally told in third person while many YA books these days are in first person. HOWEVER, there is no rule about this. Write the story in whoever's point of view you wish--just keep it balanced.

 If writing in the first person (I, me, my , we, our) you CANNOT know what others are thinking or planning.  It takes a lot of dialogue to understand others’ thoughts or desires.

·        The only way to know what everyone is thinking is to use third person omniscient.
·        But be careful because even that gets tricky.
·        If you switch POV, be sure to designate it with a space or asterisks *****.
·        Never change POV inside the same paragraph (called mind hopping, it becomes very confusing).

Beware of ‘Purple Prose’. This is highly descriptive writing that may sound awesome but sometimes does nothing to promote the story. You should have some description so the reader can visualize what the character is sensing, just don’t go overboard.

Every word, action or dialogue should propel the story forward. If you have chapters or even paragraphs for character development alone, remove them. Chapters with too much description of surroundings or too much backstory/history get boring and readers will skip ahead anyway so edit down to only what is necessary to tell the story.

Don’t tell too much of the story up front. Let out the line slowly, keep most of the story as a mystery with clues until the climax when you can reveal more. Too much too soon and the reader loses interest in the story.

Revising
Don’t be afraid to revise, revise, revise. Get feedback from others and make changes to your story that YOU think will improve it. NO ONE writes the perfect story the first time.

My first book, Odessa, was revised about 8 times and even after publication I'm itching to revise it again because by five books later my writing has improved so much I'm no longer happy with Odessa.

Let your story sit on a shelf for several weeks or a month. Work on another project. Then reread the story and errors, misspellings, weak characters, weak plot lines, etc will jump out at you.

Editing
Once you have the story to a level you are happy with it is time to edit.
Remove as many adverbs as possible and replace them with stronger verbs. To locate adverbs easily, highlight them using the ‘replace’ box in the ‘editing’ box of MS Word. Highlight –ly and most adverbs will appear. Read through and eliminate as many as you can.

Highlight the following words in the entire manuscript then go through removing or replacing them with more powerful words/phrases:
AND
THAT
SAID (or ANY speech tags-replace with action)
any word you see repeated often

Remove as many adjectives as you can. Do not use duplicate adjectives such as “very beautiful”. If something is beautiful that is enough. Very becomes redundant. Better yet, describe HOW it is beautiful without using the word. Beauty is subjective.

WEAK: The river was beautiful that morning.
BETTER: Sun rays leaking through the early morning mist, lent the river a mystic quality.

Use Spell Check and look-up words that are misspelled.
Pay attention to punctuation. If you’re not sure about its usage this website will help  http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/566/01 .

Probably MOST IMPORTANTLY--learn from your editor. My first book, Odessa, looked like a dying warrior after a lengthy battle with dragons--it was covered with red gashes. My latest book, ending edits now and soon to be released (Harpies Book Two of Seraphym Wars Series) looked as though it had taken a short walk through nice woods--a couple of little scratches! Even my editor was surprised and happy with my writing progress. So the bottom line is this--make notes of your mistakes then PRE-EDIT after your final revision. You'll save your editor a lot of time and frustration and yourself money and embarrassment. 

Here's a little blurb about Harpies. Watch my website for its release: Under the Hat of MG/YA Dark Fantasy Author Rebecca Ryals Russell



Transported to a planet he'd never heard of was the least of fifteen-year-old Griffen's problems. Learning to control his suddenly increasing strength and new ability to pull lightning from the sky takes some getting used to.  Angry preteen Seth joins the quest; meanwhile discovering his combusting ability as a fire-starter. Driven to find the last Vigorio, a young girl able to experience others' emotions, they journey together toward their destinies as warriors against Narciss, Ruler of Tartarus and his Legio of demon-dragons. Narciss’s Harpy henchmen have other ideas, however.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Self-Editing

Self-editing is something every writer should do, but it means knowing how to do it. Every writer should have a good book in their library, but it shouldn't just sit on the shelf. Get it out often and use it. I like to get my book down and go through it every so often whether or not I'm doing any self-editing just for reinforcement.

A good book on self-editing will tell you not to do any editing until you have your first draft completed. Because writing and editing are two different mind sets, it's hard to concentrate on both at the same time, hence causing you not to do a complete or proper job of either process. So the right order is to write the first draft of your book first and then do your self-editing.

A thorough self-editing includes it all: grammar, punctuation, structure, dialog, point of view, interior monologue, beats, tributes, rhythm voice, and characterization. Are there any conflicting areas in your manuscripts? Do your characters sound and feel real? Do you have areas where you tell when you should be showing? Does your plot flow and have the ability to hold the readers' attention? And do you have a balance between your narrative and dialogue? I could probably think of some more points/questions you should ask yourself, but these are enough to give you an idea of the point to self-editing.

Now I know what you are thinking. But I have an editor to do my editing for me! That's true in most cases, but your book will be more polished if you edit your manuscript yourself first and then let an editor go over it again. A first-time author will sound less amateurish , and an experienced author will sound like the experienced writer he/she is..

Sound like a lot of work? You bet it is! But it could pay off in the long run.

Faye M. Tollison
Author of To Tell the Truth
Upcomng books: The Bible Murders
                           Sarah's Secret
www.fayemtollison.com
www.fmtoll.wordpress.com
www.facebook.com/faye.tollison
tollisonf@gmail.com

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