For my birthday this year, I’m going to spend the entire day sitting in the Spring sunshine, working on my latest manuscript. I’m also doing a ‘reverse gift’. From today until I change my mind, my book UnEarthed is available for 99c. Enjoy!
In my former life as an English teacher, I was once required to teach my class of Turkish students about Point Of View (what we authors happily abbreviate to POV). We were reading Death Of A Salesman at the time, and my kids were often confused when scenes flipped from present to past.
Following my fairly longwinded explanation of POV — in which I tried to explain that despite these changes in time, the POV was still that of Willie Lohman— one of my beautiful students put up his hand and said “It’s like looking through a window. We can look in, or we can look out, but it remains the same window.” Thus I was effectively redundant for the rest of the lesson.
The window analogy was, of course, perfect, especially as we so often consider the eyes to be the windows to the soul. If we are looking through the eyes of Willie Lohman, we can look inward or outward, but we cannot see through someone else’s eyes.
Why does this matter to us as writers more than it does to English teachers (and it matters quite a bit to English teachers, I must say)? It matters because choosing the correct POV for a story, and then maintaining that POV is vital to the continuity and understandability of the story you’re writing.
The first step to mastering your POV is to choose the character best able to tell your story for you. Whether you write in the third or the first person, it’s still necessary to choose ONE character. I got a great laugh recently, when I read The Guide To Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction by Philip Athans, in which he says “In my mind there is no difference between third person omniscient and third person lazy.” In other words, pick a character from whose POV the story will be told…and work with it.
I have to say, for my latest book UnEarthed, I was tempted, so very tempted, to slip in, at the last minute, a POV different from the rest of the book. I resisted because it would have been cheating. It would have ruined the flow of the book and it would not have worked. It didn’t help when my editor said “I’d love to read the scene where Astrid…”. I took a deep breath and said “I could do that, but then I’d have to rewrite the rest of the book offering Astrid’s POV throughout the whole thing. I think that might ruin the story, don’t you?” So we didn’t do it, and I’m glad. (I am however, saving that scene as an extra for my website)
I also read that Markus Zusak rewrote The Book Thief a number of times. Each time, he was trying out a different POV. Finally when he stumbled on Death as the narrator, he knew he was onto something great.
So rules for POV,
Step One: Choose your weapon
Step Two: Hone it. An appealing POV requires a believable voice. You only get that by getting to know your narrator.
Step Three: Remain loyal. Once you’ve chosen your POV, you can look only through their window. You can open the window for a smell. You can hang out of it and dangle from the ledge. You can touch things through it. You can look out the window, or in through it, but you may not hijack anyone else’s window.
The only time this rule can be mangled, is if you are practicing a scene-sequel technique. This is a process most common for romance authors (and I’ve written a few of those, so I know), which allows them to tell the story from both a male and a female perspective. It’s a technique you must choose deliberately and deploy thoughtfully; it’s not randomly hopping from one person’s mind to the next with neither method nor indication. In fact, that might be my next blog post…
In the meantime, here’s a little activity. Look at the picture below:
2) Describe what you see from this point of view.
3) Pretend you are the girl in the window. What does she see from where she is now? What would she see if she stood outside her window and looked back in?
You cannot be the girl and the person on the street. This is the essence of maintaining a POV.
For more about building POV and voice, visit http://www.anphobos.com
So, I was the person who was never going to Twitter. I swore on my (still living) mother’s grave, that I would never, EVER Twitter. People, I argued, should be able to live without advertising their lives. What happened? Ummm…I read a book explaining that people need to get to know you in order to want to buy your book. So I began an experiment. My experiment grew. I got to know my Tweeps. Their comments and observations made me laugh, think and umm…buy books.
Obviously interacting with my Tweeps has not replaced my face-to-face interactions with people geographically close to me, but it did expand my horizons.
Today, I discovered I have one thousand, that’s right ONE THOUSAND Tweeps. That’s not a lot, really. Some people have squillions, but for a girl who was never going to Twitter, and who has been forced by her Tweeps to reconsider several aspects of social media, I think a thousand is quite the milestone.
As such, I’m hosting a giveaway over at Amazon. Click here (or on the cover image) to take yourself off and get a free copy of my book. This offer is for four days only. There are no strings, no catches and I will not be hassling you with follow-up emails or whatever. This is me being happy, excited and feeling like I should give my Tweeps a little love!
Yes, yes, I’ve been gone a while. I have an excuse! I’ve been moving countries. I’m now happily residing in France, which is (almost literally) half a world away from my old home on the Gold Coast in Queensland Australia.
While in the process of settling into my new universe, I’ve been constructing a new website for my latest book UnEarthly. I thought that as UnEarthly is so different from all my other books, it might be worthing giving the book its own space. Yep, I’m giving my space book space….
If you’re curious to see how I made the leap from creative non-fiction to science fiction, you should check out my new site http://www.anphobos.com
Also on the UnEarthed website, are character interviews (slightly different from the ones I do in my preparatory writing phases but similar), character images and even some sample pages from my planning notebook. I hope you like it.
Remember, Follow Fearlessly!
Being edited is not at all like receiving a Christmas present. It’s more like doing the Christmas shopping…the day before Christmas when everyone has lost their minds and the car park is a nightmare.
On the upside, the end of the editing process, is always a pleasant surprise. You get a better book, and in the end, a better reputation; consider it the secret santa present you didn’t know you were getting.
If you’d like to know how to survive the struggle in order to find the secret santa stash, check out my article over at Indie Writers Zone.
I’m celebrating two things today. First and foremost, the launch of my new book UnEarthed. This book is YA sci-fi, so something completely different from my usual style but also the first genre I ever really, truly loved as a reader.
UnEarthed is also a bit of an experiment, as my publisher and I agreed to bring it out as an ebook first, which is dead opposite to what most publishers do. Also, just this time, I kept the ebook rights myself, which means I can do whatever I want with the book, price it the way I wish, market it the way I like and do whatever promotional giveaways take my fancy 🙂 (Hold that thought).
My keeping the rights also meant that the editing, formatting, cover art and publishing process were entirely my responsibility. That’s a big deal when you’ve never done it before. Usually, if anything at all goes wrong, it’s not my problem; the book stopped being ‘mine’ when I signed the contract with the publisher.
Now, the book is mine. I love it. I’m proud of it. I hope you’ll like it too.
The second thing I’m celebrating today, is the fact that I have five hundred Tweeps. That’s right, five hundred people are following me on Twitter. That may not seem like a lot, but geeze, considering I never thought I would ever, ever even look at a Twitter page, that’s quite a big deal. At the moment, I’m learning a new thing nearly every second. It’s tiring, but amazing fun.
In order to celebrate this supremely fun moment in my life, I’ve decided to host a giveaway. I’m giving away free copies of my book UnEarthed over at Smashwords, to the first five people to leave a comment about something new (and hopefully fun) they’ve learned lately. I can’t wait to hear what you’re up to!