Not a huge list this month, I’m ashamed to say. Too busy rehashing the very first novel I ever wrote and tightning up its POV. When you’re a beginning writer, you tend to think multiple POV shifts are OK and that it’s the only way your reader is going to find out what you think they need to know. Especially when your first ms is a big gutsy fantasy with heaps of characters, this is not necessarily a good thing. Really experienced writers can get away with multiple POV shifts because they know their craft. Beginners need to understand it can just be plain annoying for the reader if you don’t do it really well. I finally truly ‘got’ that when I wrote a few mss in 1st person. Now I’m back to writing in 3rd person after a 3-book 1st person hiatus, I’ve noticed how much tighter my writing is. I don’t even really have to think about watching the head-hopping any more – it’s just automatic.
(BTW, don’t expect my usual long reading lists for a while. It’s going to be a long process updating this ms. My writing style has changed so much I have to be careful anything I rewrite doesn’t jar and still ‘fits’ the original voice… either that or I’m gonna have to rewrite the whole darn thing!)
But back to POV: having recently finished Cecelia Ahearn’s ‘If You Could See Me Now’, here’s a writer who broke the so-called rules wonderfully! She starts off in 1st person for all of chapter 1 – this is from the POV of Ivan, the not-so-imaginary friend. Then in chapter 2 she swaps to 3rd person in the POV of Elizabeth, the aunt of the little boy Ivan befriends. The end of this chapter is a brief paragraph from Ivan’s POV again, but this time written in 3rd person. The entire book is like this. And boy, does it work! I couldn’t put it down. Cried at the end… what a wonderful, talented writer!
Oops! Gotta go eat some more Easter eggs and watch the Sunday night movie.
Here’s my reading list for March and watch out for another post as soon as I have a moment about the very interesting history behind the publication of John Kennedy Toole’s ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’.
- Naked Brunch by Sparkle Hayter
- Storm Front by Jim Butcher
- New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear
- Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn
- Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh
- Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. Liu
- The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
- If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahearn
- Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
- The Thirteenth House by Sharon Shinn
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
- Night Bites by Nina Bangs
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin