Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Okay, lock the door and pull down the shades—today we’re talkin’ multiple POVs. Yeah, yeah, I know, we’re all gonna have to go to confession afterwards, but that’s the price you have to pay for taking risks. Not mortal-sin caliber risks, mind you, just the venial-sin variety … ya know, the kind that feel a little bit naughty but really aren’t all that bad?

So let’s talk POV (the “point of view” from which a story is written). There are a lot of options out there, but basically the top three utilized today are:

  • Omniscient: A story told from the viewpoint of the author or God rather than through a character. (Example: Rebecca Overton didn’t know it, but her life was about to change forever.)

  • First Person: A story told from one character’s POV utilizing the pronoun “I.” (Example: I didn’t realize it at the time, but my life was about to change forever.)

  • Third Person: Utilizes pronouns like "he" and "she" (versus "I") and is most prevalent in commercial fiction at this time. (Example: He knew she didn’t realize it, but he was about to change her life forever.)

When I starting writing romance a number of years ago, I knew that Third Person was the prevalent POV for romance novels, but until I entered contests, I didn’t know that the cardinal rule was only one POV per scene. Everything that was thought, felt or seen in a scene had to be through one person’s viewpoint, either the hero’s or the heroine’s. The reason for this is that if not done properly, utilizing more than one POV per scene can cause confusion with “head-hopping—seeing the scene through one character’s eyes and then suddenly switching to seeing it through another character’s eyes in the next sentence or paragraph. (Example: Laura sighed, wishing he would kiss her. Jonah wanted to so badly, but she’d burned him once and he wasn’t going down the road again.)

Not only can headhopping totally confuse the reader, but it can kill the momentum of your scene and, quite frankly, is the kiss of death in a contest or a proposal. As a result, many romance novels today alternate with one scene in the heroine’s POV and then the next scene in the hero’s POV, but few utilize multiple POVS in the same scene. Now I guess that’s okay for a lot of authors, but I’m sorry, when it comes to love scenes, I’m the type of gal who wants it full throttle—yeah, I want to know what she’s thinking, feeling or desiring … but I also want to crawl inside his mind, too, and get it in stereo. I mean, come on, romance is just too good to be one-sided, right?

Yeah, but.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking—better follow the rules till I get published. And, yes, there are any number of reasons you’ve been told that multiple POVs don’t work, such as the head-hopping confusion factor or that multiple POVs might reduce tension (not a good thing!) by letting you know too much about the characters, how they feel, think every step of the way. But I learned from a very wise editor that if you follow a few simple rules, you can experience a freedom and depth with characterization that a one-POV scene cannot provide. For me personally, multiple POVs have helped me to increase tension, explore characters and motivation in more depth, and deepen the readers' emotional involvement with the hero and the heroine by getting inside both of their heads during a tense or romantic scene.

What I like to do for drama’s sake is to flesh out a scene in one POV for a number of pages and then during a pivotal or dramatic point, BOOM, switch POVs! The best way to do this with clarity and avoid head-hopping is to adhere to a few simple rules:

1.) Always double-space to indicate a change of POV.
2.) Always begin the next POV with an action by the character whose POV is beginning.
3.) Keep your POV switches to a minimum within a scene and always flesh out each POV with several paragraphs or pages (i.e. NEVER switch POVs with every sentence or paragraph).

In the following love scene from A Passion Most Pure, I switched POVs three times—from the heroine’s POV to the hero’s and then back to the heroine’s again, but I think it heightens the drama, at least it does for me. See if you like it, and if you do, you may just find that for you, breaking the one-POV-per scene rule is not such a sin.

I’d love your thoughts about your favorite POV or multiple POVs, so let us know. I will be out of pocket most of the day, but I will check in this evening. Meanwhile, the rest of The Seekers will be on hand to share their “points of view.” Have a blessed day!


Through her eyelids, she could feel rather than see the flickering sun as it danced and shimmered between the fluttering leaves of the massive oak overhead. Intermittently its warmth was stolen for a moment, as it was now, by a stray cloud in an otherwise perfect sky. Somewhere high in the canopy of boughs, a mockingbird chattered, luring a smile to Faith’s lips as she rested, content in her wait for the warmth to return.

"You know, there's a good chance you could burn those beautiful legs."

Lord above, she was paralyzed, unable to move anything but her eyelids, which flew open in utter horror. She blinked, sunlight blinding her eyes to a shadowy figure standing over her. Collin McGuire.

He assessed her bare legs with a grin, which promptly produced an onslaught of heat in her cheeks. "I'd be careful, you know. Looks like your face is pretty red too."

All paralysis gone, Faith yanked her skirt down and shielded her eyes from the sun. She stared up at him for the first time in over three years. Oh, God, please don't let him see me shaking. With a sweaty palm, she clutched at her dress.

Methodically, he sat down on the blanket beside her, his long legs stretched out next to her own. He leaned back, tugged at a piece of grass and put the stem in his mouth. He chewed it slowly, deliberately.

Her breath hitched in her throat. "What are you doing?" she stuttered, inching to the far edge of the blanket.

Collin turned to face her, his gray eyes nonchalant. "Sittin'." He looked away, tilting his face to the sun as if being there were the most natural thing in the world.

She stared hard at his jawline, clean and strong. Warmth washed over her. Her pulse raced chaotic. "I don't understand––did you follow me?"


"But why?"

He sat straight up and shifted to face her, no pretense in his eyes. The blade of grass continued to rotate in his lips. He plucked it from his mouth. "Honestly? I came here to vent. I was pretty mad, angry that you made it difficult for me to see your sister. I'm quite fond of her, you know, and hope to see more of her. Why’d you tell your parents you saw us on the porch?"

Faith blinked and looked away. She felt as if he could read her mind, and it made her uneasy. She shivered. "I didn't mean to, honestly I didn't. It just … well, it just … came out. We were fighting, and Charity said something hurtful. Then I did. And then I said that …"

When he didn't answer, she straightened her shoulders and thrust her chin to stare at him boldly––then caught her breath. He was only inches away, and she’d forgotten the mesmerizing effect of those eyes, so serene and light. They were a striking shade of gray, not quite blue, and as clear and deep as the purest spring. Her mother often remarked how eyes were the windows to the soul. Faith stared into the depths of his now and felt as if she were staring into the inner sanctum of Collin McGuire. The blade of grass was back between his teeth. His gaze locked with hers, and a strange calm came over her. At the same time, her heart accelerated, a paradox that confused and frightened her.

His smile faded as he stared back, transfixed, almost as if he, too, felt the startling connection.

Abruptly, she turned away, her fingers grasping at her hair to push it from her face. "I suppose it shocked me … seeing you with Charity like that. She's only sixteen. And you're twenty-one …"He didn’t respond and she looked up. The deadly smile had reappeared. Another rush of warmth invaded her cheeks. "My parents aren't comfortable with that," she said.

Collin reached for an acorn and rolled its nubby hull between his forefinger and thumb. He certainly hadn’t expected this, to find himself enjoying Charity’s meddling sister. Suddenly he was following her every move with fascination. He tossed the nut in the air. "And what about you? How’s your comfort level?"

It was like watching a scene in a play. He remembered her from high school, of course, and the memory broadened the smile on his lips. But he hadn't noticed how pretty she was. She’d grown up a lot since then. Gone were the steel braces that had shackled the legs of a fragile ten-year-old little girl who’d looked as if the next breeze would wisp her away. Even as a freshman, she’d been skinny and gangly with haunting green eyes. But now … He grinned, allowing his eyes to rove the length of her. He could tell by the blush on her cheeks that his gaze made her uncomfortable. He didn’t care. It was too much fun studying her––the slightly upturned nose, the delicately sculpted face, the glint of sun in the red-gold hair. And the eyes––as green as a field of grass with tiny specks of gold scattered throughout.

Her head jerked up and the green eyes glittered. "Me? I don't give a fig what you do or with whom you do it," she snapped. "Except for Charity. She's too young.”

The eyes had him riveted. There was something about Faith O’Connor that stirred him and he wasn't sure why. Charity's appeal far surpassed that of the pretty girl who sat beside him, and yet … there was something deeper he couldn't explain. Something he’d never experienced in the countless encounters he'd known. It thrilled him—and scared him––all at once.

He batted the acorn high in the sky and looked away, squinting at the sun. "Too young?" He spit out the chewed blade of grass to emphasize his point, his heart beating faster than usual. “Not from my vantage point.”

With great difficulty, he kept his breathing steady and calm, his eyes indifferent. Well, well, Collin McGuire, this is certainly uncharted territory for you. And although he desperately wanted to explore it, something stopped him cold. Faith O'Connor had the feel of a girl who could put a stranglehold on his heart. That was a path he preferred to avoid. His smile eased into arrogance. “As a matter of fact, I’d say she’s the perfect age.”

She shot off the blanket and glared down at him, elbows flaring at her side. "You leave her alone! She's not one of your common girls at Brannigan’s. She's a good girl. Too good for the likes of you."

“Too good for the likes of you …” The words of his mother assaulted his memory, flaming the fuse. Springing to his feet, he towered over her and gripped her shoulders, fingers digging in. For an instant, it appeared as if she didn’t dare breathe. "Don't ever say that again," he whispered, his jaw hard as rock. Fury pulsed in his temple. He tightened his grip. "Too good for the likes of me, is she now? Well then, what about you, Faith O’Connor? Are you too good for the likes of me?"

She caught her breath just before his lips found hers, and he felt the fight within her as he locked her in his arms. The taste of her mouth was so heady to his senses, a soft moan escaped his lips at the shock of it. She shivered before she went weak in his arms, and instinctively, he softened his hold.

She lunged back and clipped the edge of his jaw with a tight-fisted punch, her breath coming in ragged gasps. “How dare you—” she sputtered, the green eyes full of heat.

He grinned and silenced her with his mouth. She made a weak attempt to push him away, but he only drew her back with a force that made her shudder. He felt her pulse racing as his lips wandered her throat. The scent of her drove him mad. He kissed her with renewed urgency, the taste of her making him dizzy. And then, before she could catch her breath, he shoved her away, his heart thundering and his mind paralyzed.

Faith reeled, nearly losing her balance. She swayed on her feet, breathless and weak, not trusting herself to speak. She had dreamed of his lips on hers, written pages of poetry about it. And now here it was, and she couldn’t utter a syllable. Collin seemed bewildered, almost disoriented, rubbing his jaw with the side of his hand. His breathing was shallow and rapid, and she could tell he was trying to compose himself, to regain the casual confidence so much a part of who he was.

His voice was gruff when he spoke. "Look, I'm sorry … you made me angry.” He glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. His mouth slanted into a wary smile. “Again.”


Julie Lessman said...

Oh, dear Lord, did I have spacing issues with Blogger this morning!!! After two hours of futzing with it, I said, "Good enough!" Even for an anal type like me ... :)


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

I LOVE multiple POV's!!!

Though, I do try to minimize them or lead into a switch with action.

One of my editors insists on * * * to show POV switch - which I'm getting used to. :-)

Staying in one POV has been a true learning experience for me, especially when there are deep emotions that I want to get across.

One thing that has helped when I get frustrated is to ask: Whose POV am I in? How can I get those same emotions across?

The answers usually surprise me and the scene turns out well.

GREAT post!

Julie Lessman said...

Hi Pam, thanks for your great comment! Always glad to meet another MPQ (multiple POV Queen)!!

Yeah, my publisher wanted me to put a do-dad to indicate POV changes, but it looks too much like a scene change to me, so I finally convinced them to just use a double-space (at least in book 2!).

Have a blessed day!


Janet Dean said...

Julie, awesome scene and a great example of using multiple POVs. I also like to use them. Like you, I believe seeing a scene through both the hero and heroine's eyes enriches the story. Not that I always do it. You're a master at emotion. Thanks for the great post!


Janet Dean said...

I sympathize with you, Julie. I never get the spacing right on Blogger. If anyone knows the secret it has to be Ruthy.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Julie, always fun to have a romp in the park...


With Colin and Faith!

And ya know what I've noticed with books published this last year by several publishers????

No extra space in between POV shifts. Seriously. You get a new paragraph or a new speaker, but I'm seeing less and less of the extra spacing in published works.

I think that's a good thing. I like books that offer a modicum of trust to our intelligence, that believe we'll 'get it' (whatever 'it' is) without being escorted down the winding path.

And I love multiple POV's. Loved that you dared to do that so flagrantly in PMP and that it was grabbed up. Wonderful sense, those people at Revell.

The spacing thing?

I always do my posts in Word on the computer and copy and paste because I'm simplistic. The fact that it comes out okay is purely Bill Gates' fault.

No credit can I take, LOL!!!

And try these Italian sweet macaroons with a dab of chocolate ganache....

I'm making them for the cookie tray at the reception for Bethy and I want to know how they turned out. What do you guys think?

And if there are non-coconut lovers out there, try the tray of cream cheese/macadamia nut brownies. How could anyone have a bad day with such abundant goodness surrounding them??? Even virtually?

And Jules, dear, can you put out a fresh pitcher of lemonade or tea? It's chilly up here in WNY but the rest of the country has discovered summer.



Mary Connealy said...

ummm ummm ummm I cannot WAIT for A Passion Redeemed. I loved these people. Even the ones I hated, I loved to hate.

Nice scene. I so well remember the day that I didn't even know what POV meant. So, so much to learn to be a writer.

Gina Welborn said...

The *** and double-space thing can get all onfusing sometimes.

I remember judging an entry where the entrant used...lemme pause a second see if I remember correctly--

To indicate a POV change within the same scene, she began the paragraph with a clear phrasing that this was now in another's POV. (ex. New POV Character's name doing a physical action. Then a thought.)

To indicate a scene change, either location or time, she used blank line.

If the scene changed, location or time, BUT POV stayed the same, she used ***.

When judging, I didn't realize her "system." But fortunately the contest had a judging loop and a couple other judges explained the "system" and what they thought the entrant's reasons were.

Call me crazy, but scene and POV breaks should be so understandable that a translator isn't needed.

As writer, I use a *** between any scene (location or time) or POV change. Keep things simple. But if my brilliant future editor requests otherwise, then I'm okay with doing what she suggests.

As a reader, I don't mind POV changes within a scene. Using a *** is fine. Using the new POV character's name and an action beat is fine. The key is the transtion is smooth and clear.

Head-hopping...well, it's an immediate stop reading.

The example Julie gave isn't head-hopping becuase she stays a significant amount of time in Collin's POV before switching back to Faith's.

I can't think of a pubbed book I recently read that had head-hopping in it. Contest entries, on the other hand....

Patricia W. said...

I don't mind multiple POVs when done as you've outlined. If no translator needed, as Gina said, then it works.

I'm reading a book now, a Love Inspired, where the POV shifted in the middle of the scene. No breaks or other indication so I was jarred. But then, the story remained in the new POV until the end of the scene, which was also the end of the chapter. Once I figured that out, I was okay. In fact, I thought perhaps the author had included blank lines that somehow got edited out during publication.

Gina Welborn said...

I forgot to add something because I was trying to type AND watch 'Toon Disney. Note to self: Remember you aren't multi-taskable.

What irks me is when a contest judge says switching POVs in a scene is a NO NO. And I'm not talking about Julie's example from Faith to Colin to Faith.

I'm talking if the scene begin in Faith's POV then ended in Colin's.

I'm not sure where this belief in the rule "one scene, one POV" originated. My guess it's in some popular craft of writing book. Or some best-selling author insisted this is the only way, and his/her disciples are still following his/her opinion.

Gina Welborn said...

Hmmm. Patricia got me thinking.

Maybe the "one scene, one POV" idea generated from so many published books adhering to that philosphy.

For example, Patrica must be used to Steeple Hill novels with one pov per scene or using a *** or blank line to signify a POV change. Thus not including a POV break was jolting initally.

Of hand, of the ABA novels I've read this year, I can't think of a one where a *** or blank line was used to indicate a POV change. Instead the authors established a new POV with an action beat that firmly grounded the reader in that character's POV.

Okay, I just thought about the last ABA romance I read. The best-selling, multi-published author lead up to a POV change with having a few lines of dialogue without POV character thoughts. Then....

Colin focused on Faith's placating grin. The lass knew how to irk him. yada yada yada

What confuses me is when the change comes immediately following the first POV character's thought.

Faith reluctantly laughed. Colin was such an adorable tease...and a dangerous flirt. She needed to leave. Now.

Colin focused on Faith's placating grin. The lass knew how to irk him...and enchant him. He needed to leave. After a kiss or two just to see if she matched her sister's passion.

Okay, I took liberties with the story. But a POV change like that would jolt me as a reader. Uggh. But I'd be okay with a smoother transition.

Faith reluctantly laughed. Colin was such an adorable tease...and a dangerous flirt. She needed to leave. Now.

She grabbed her shoes and stockings. "I must go."

"Why so soon?"

"I'm late for chores?"

He laughed.

"Contrary to what you believe, Colin, I do chores."

"I believe you. What amuses me is that you do chores 4 o'clock in the afternoon."

Colin focused on Faith's placating grin. The lass knew how to irk him...and enchant him. He needed to leave. After a kiss or two just to see if she matched her sister's passion.

Cara Slaughter said...

I love to read books with multiple POV's because I feel I get to know more characters in depth.

Until I started reading books on writing I never minded head hopping unless it was confusing. In fact, I don't think I even recognized it. Now it sometimes annoys me.

But if the story absorbs me or the writing is wonderful, I overlook broken rules and just enjoy the book.

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, Thanks for the copy and paste tip. You're a genius! And a wonderful cook! The macaroon cookies and cream cheese brownies are to die for. So when should we expect to receive our invitations?


Janet Dean said...

Gina, I'm not sure where the one POV per scene originated. Maybe it evolved from editors distaste for headhopping. Years ago, I read a successful authors who headhopped and it didn't jar me. But it bothers me now.

Mary Connealy said...

I'll toss this in Cara Slaughter is my critique partner. Just yesterday, she caught a POV error in my book.

She was absolutely right. I feel like I've got it figured out these days but I'd started in one POV and somewhere lost track apparently and started in the other POV.

I had to read it several times before it clicked.

So thanks, Cara.
And the thing with ONE POV per scene is, these days, it's just the rule. You can switch midway, yes, then stay in a new POV but it needs to be deliberate.
dancing in and out of people's heads is the mark of an amatuer so that's what you're telling an editor when you do it.

I'm very used to reading books with head hopping and I don't mind it a bit. But I don't write it.

Shorter books like LI usually require the Hero and heroine only as POV characters, although HP let me have a villainous POV in one book...I asked first.

But I think...I had 8 or 9 POV characters in Petticoat Ranch including two or three who have only one or maybe as many as three POV scenes in the whole book.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Janet, glad you like the macaroons. I left some without chocolate for the purists among us.

Head-hopping doesn't bother me at all as long as the person can write, and I mean that without an ounce of levity.

Amateur head-hoppers are annoying. Nora Roberts? Whole 'nother kettle of fish.

And a well-written, head-hoppin' book quite often carries a quicker pace and a more entwining story line than one scene/one pov, his head/her head offerings.

But that could be because I think that way, so the style works for me.


I've figured something out with this year's genre change/shift of gears I've taken.

I think we like and relate to heroines that either reflect us, our beliefs, our temperament, our humor, etc. than those from other 'type' personalities, regardless of the heroine's career, background, yaddi yaddi yah.

Like when a book wins something and you scratch your head thinking, "I just don't get it..."

You did get it. You just didn't like it.

I hate whiny heroines. (Those of you who have branded me a CLASS A whiner need to maintain a momentary vow of silence... Thank you...)

They annoy me, they smack of weakness and indirection, and it doesn't matter to me WHAT their story is, the whining turns me off.

And they're out there in droves. I don't read 'em, and I pray I don't write 'em, but some people identify with them and thoroughly love, love, love the book involved because they see hope for themselves.

Yup. So do I. With a therapist.

I like tough heroines who've been trod on but survived, who don't give in to today's 'victim' mentality, and who pull themselves up by the bootstraps with a little help from hero-boy.

Deb Smith. Nora Roberts. Karen White. Lisa Wingate. Anna DeStefano. Amy Frazier. LaVyrle Spencer.

They all write the kind of heroine I like and I identify with, so I like their writing.

Do you believe it took me all these years to see that common link? What a dolt.

So when I moan and groan over something that takes home a contest award (or a contract), what I need to recognize is that there is an audience for those books. I'm just not in it. Kind of like the group of people you gravitate to at a party.

The ones that make 'the cut', if you know what I mean. Books are like that, with or without head-hopping, etc. They either do or don't make 'our cut'.

Can you tell the babies are sleeping????


Gina Welborn said...

So, Ruthy, how does an author make the reader like a character she doesn't relate to?

On a side note, I do agree with you. I can think of several best-selling novels where I just didn't connect with the heroine. Or, in particular, a book where the hero was very similiar to a real-life NFL quarterback. I picked up the book without knowing what it was about becuase I LOVE the author.

How disappointed I was to discover the hero.

Make your hero a Derek Jeter-clone and I'm buying a new copy of Strunk and White's EOS for pleasure reading.

Some characters just won't resonate with some readers.

And I don't like whiny heroines either.

Yet if you create too strong, too hard of a heroine, I'm not as likely to care about her because she's too strong and hard.

Reminds me of a non-fiction book I have.

Soft Hearts, Strong Women

Anne Barton said...

Julie, I've always been too scared to try POV switches within a scene, but you may have convinced me to give it a whirl. It was very effective and seamless in your scene - loved it!

You know what I've noticed? Whenever I'm writing love scenes, I tend to use the hero's POV (instead of the heroine's). I have to make a conscious effort to get into her head during the hot stuff.

What does this say about me? Should I contact a therapist? :)

Gina Welborn said...

Yes, I know Jeter plays baseball not football.

Last thing I want to do is mention the name of the QB the book cloned. My fingers refuse to type his name.

I'm sure the book was good.

If only I had less standards...

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Julie, you said: What I like to do for drama’s sake is to flesh out a scene in one POV for a number of pages and then during a pivotal or dramatic point, BOOM, switch POVs!

Oh, yeah! You do this very well, Julie. And I do this ALL THE TIME in my WIP that I'm just finishing up. It's very intense and very romantic--at least I think it is--and I just couldn't bear to waste the chance to let the reader feel the angst and conflict inside both the hero and the heroine, their attraction, their misunderstanding of what the other was thinking. Mmmm, love that. :-)

Head hopping is totally annoying to read, but I like knowing what both the hero and heroine are thinking, and you can include them both as long as you put in that extra space to separate their scenes.

And I'm officially agented now! Yea, me!!! Thank you, God! He deserves all the credit. Never have I felt so powerless as when I was trying to get an agent. Rejections so totally STINK.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melanie, oh yay, oh yay, oh yay!!!!

Wonderful, wonderful news. Marvelous, kiddo.

Guys, grab that bottle of '57 California champagne, would ya'? It takes a might fine wine to celebrate such auspicious occasions!

Hooray! Hooray!!

In case you guys hadn't noticed (like that's possible or probable) Julie had to step away for a bit today which left you to the combined devices of whatever Seeker was available.

Sorry. You guys got me.

And Gina, I'm in total agreement with you (except about Jeter. Dave has serious competition when it comes to incomparable Yankee shortstop that melts my aging heart with that sweet smile. And his ball playing ain't bad, either!)

And I WON'T mention the NE Patriots quarterback's name out loud or in print. Promise.

I never liked the Brady Bunch all that much either. Florence Henderson's hair was way too perfect.


Now back to heroines...

I can like them if I'm sympathetic to their plight even if I don't love them. The whole Scarlett O'Hara thing. I didn't like Scarlett, but I understood her and empathized with her because of her experiences.

But she was still a brat, just a well-written one.

And if you look at the cast of Steel Magnolias, you've got five distinct women, but I bet you like all of them, even 'Weezer' because the part was perfectly orchestrated.

"I don't need to see one of your doctors down there at the mental health center, Melyn. There's not a thing wrong with me. I've just been in a bad mood for 57 years..."

So I guess it comes down to the all around writing for me.

Except for whiners. I want to smack 'em. I'd rather have an intimidated heroine than a whiny one.

And Julie presents a mixed POV scene very well, but I think a lot of that goes back to her characterization. Without the depth of the characters we wouldn't root for Colin or sympathize with Faith because Colin's a jerk some of the time and Faith could be construed as a goody two shoes except that we know she isn't because Julie unveiled her for us step by step.

(I owe Julie money so I'm sucking up big time. Can you tell???)

Okay, choir practice. God bless these people for letting me pretend I can sing.


Mary Connealy said...

M E L A N I E !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yay YAY
Hip hip hooray for you. God bless you.

Ausjenny said...

Julie so glad others find the spacing an issue at blogger!
If i use a html editor then i can get it right.

I didn't get lost at all but then you could see where the pov changed.,
a book I read earlier this year kept changing and being mainly 2 womens POV I was constantly lost for the first 3rd of the book.

Tina M. Russo said...

OMG you are such a Catholic. And I say that fondly, being a recovering Catholic myself. I love the venial sin references. I laughed out loud. I wonder what Sister Ruthy said in response??

I am a POV purist I must admit. :)

Julie Lessman said...

Hey Janet, thanks for the sympathy -- I need it right about now!! HATE being away from the computer all day!!

Ruthy, I do my posts in Word too, then paste them in, but it STILL doesn't work for me easily. It happens every time I post ... something goofy happens and I have a meltdown. Then poor Keith (the man is a saint) has to bail my butt out. I'm one lucky broad that the man is smitten or my high-maintenance butt would be up a creek without a paddle or a life jacket. :)

Mary, oh man, I know what you mean! I can't wait for A Passion Redeemed either!! It's my favorite of all three books in the series, so I can't wait to read it. Thanks for feeling the same way! :)

Gina said: "Call me crazy, but scene and POV breaks should be so understandable that a translator isn't needed." Uh, YEAH! And okay ... I'll call you crazy, Ms. Welborn because you ... well, are! :) But it's a wonderful "crazy"! :)


Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Patricia, I just can't handle POV shifts without a double-space -- I'm sorry, but to me it's head-hopping. And I know Ruthy is right -- that you see it more and more in books today. Call me a purist (as in A Passion Most Purist), but I HAVE to see some indication of a break between POVs.

GINA, GINA, GINA ... uh, can I steal your lines for the next book???

Cara, I don't think I noticed head-hopping either until I became a writer. Maybe it's just a writer snob thing ...

Oh, Mary, YEAH for you with 8 or 9 POV shifts in Petticoat Ranch, girlfriend. I think I remember that and LOVED it!! :0 Wonder why?


Julie Lessman said...

Ruthy said: Head-hopping doesn't bother me at all as long as the person can write, and I mean that without an ounce of levity.

Yeah, I almost tend to agree with you there, Ruthy. I once found three (I think it was actually four, but for the sake of monitoring my penchant for exaggeration, I'll leave it at three) head-hops in ONE PARAGRAPH in a Nicholas Sparks book!! Now that man is good regardless, but I have to admit that it did bother me.

Anne, you go girl -- right toward those multiple POVs ... you won't regret it! And I tend to prefer the hero's POV in a love scene too, so if you need therapy, so do I! Hey, we can go together and cut a deal, maybe!! :)

Mel, now why am I NOT surprised that you and I are fellow MPOV writers??? I LOVE your writing and am SOOOO thrilled you are agented now. SUPER CONGRATS, SWEETIE ... publication can't be far behind!!


Julie Lessman said...

(I owe Julie money so I'm sucking up big time. Can you tell???)

You owe me money???? How come I don't know this? What do you owe me money for? Heck, I should owe you money for covering for me on the blog today, sweetie. Thanks so much, Ruthy!!

Jenny, so glad I am not alone on the Blogger spacing issue! Thanks for dropping by, girlfriend.

Tina girl -- WAS a Catholic!! Haven't been one since I was 23, but we won't say how long ago that was! Glad it made you laugh, though. Ruthy actually didn't address the Catholic references, so I'm guessing she was ignoring them. And I am glad you are a POV purist as well. We are a vanishing breed, I believe ...


Anita Mae said...

Julie, I've heard about your book but haven't had the pleasure of reading it. But the excerpt is urging me to look for it!

I like one POV per scene but I need to get into both protags' heads during those intensive scenes like the one you showed us.

My problem is when I'm writing from let's say the heroine's POV and I write (just for an example):
'He sighed and pushed the chair away.'

I have one CP who will pick that line out and say, 'That's the hero's POV.' Instead, she says I should say, 'She saw him sigh and push the chair away.'

My comment is that if I do that, there's an awful lot of 'she saw' 'he saw' going on.

And congrats, Melanie.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, everybody. I thought I would just slip in that little announcement and nobody would notice. No wonder I love y'all SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!

Okay, what was I about to say? Oh, yeah. Anita Mae, you are so right. I'm taking Jill Elizabeth Nelson's online class right now on Deep POV. Mmm-hmm. The woman knows her some Deep POV. Anyhow, she says you're not engaging the reader as much when you put "She saw him push his chair away." Much better just to describe it, because the reader knows whose head they're in, so it isn't necessary to put "she saw" in there, and it distances the reader.

Yeah, I told y'all I was going to give into my online class penchant now that I've sworn off contest.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, yeah. I wanted to say, I have read some great romances that were full of head-hopping. There was one about a mail-order bride (secular) who marries a Swedish guy in Minnesota, I believe. I can't remember the author's name, maybe LaVyrle Spencer??? Probably not. Anyway, it was REALLY GOOD. I will even admit I liked the head-hopping, 'cause I was so into these two characters, but at the same time, it was a little distracting, but probably only because I'm a writer and it's a no-no to me. (How's that for a flagrant run-on sentence?) And Francine Rivers did it too in Redeeming Love, and that is one of my all-time favorite books.

But I don't do head-hopping and don't ever plan to. To me, you get the same--actually much better--effect by doing it the way Julie does it, by following "the rules."

Debby Giusti said...

Great post!!! I'm like Mary and can remember when I didn't know what POV was. I had a lot to learn . . . still do!

Melanie, super-mega congrats getting an agent!!! Whoo-hooo!!!! I'm so excited for you!

Janet Dean said...

Melanie, We're celebrating your new agent in Seekerville tonight. The banner is up. The balloons are filled and flying. The fireworks will start any minute. Where are you?????


Missy Tippens said...

Julie, great post! I love how you handled POV changes. I change in the middle of a scene sometimes, too. I guess I usually use the double spacing, too.

Something Cara said, though, really struck me. We probably didn't notice the switches nearly as much when we were just reading, not writing. I think we get more critical once we become writers.

Melanie, congratulations!!!! That's great news!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Here I am!!! You got me one of those cakes with the cream filling? Oh, boy! I love those. I'm so glad we're cyber-celebrating and I don't have to count the calories! Can I take a couple of balloons home to my kids?

Gina Welborn said...

It's late. Odds are no one will read this, but let me go on the record and say I fell asleep during part 1 of GWtW. Didn't like Scarlett. Didn't like Melanie. Didn't like that guy who had a girl name. And I don't think Rhett had appeared on the scene.

Then again, maybe I should blame the movie or the characters.

I was 7 months pregnant at the time and had just finished a Valentine Day banquet. How could I not snooze?

Mabye if there'd been a carriage chase with some gun shootings and a dead body or two.

Oh, and some aliens.

Maybe even a villian with a limp and a fedish for eating raw turnips. And a one-eyed minion who only spoke Latin.

Gina Welborn said...

Umm, that should have been "shouldn't blame the movie..."

My spell-checker goes offline at midnight.

Ausjenny said...

Oh Gina, I haven't watched GWTW well ok i watched the first part but never saw the rest.

mum actually left the movie theatre when it was on at intermission thinking it was over. She never liked it or saw it all.

I would like to watch it all some time but just haven't gotten to it.

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, Anita Mae, thanks so much for your comment! I agree with you that "He sighed and pushed his chair away" is perfectly okay in her POV because she can hear it and see it. I do sometimes use sentences like "she heard him sigh," but you are right -- it can get really old if you have the heroine hearing, seeing or feeling the hero's actions too much. A suggestion for mixing it up a bit is maybe something like
"A weary sigh drifted from his lips as he pushed his chair away."

Melanie, you're right! Francine did have a lot of head-hopping, both in Redeeming Love and Mark of the Lion Trilogy, but like you said, she is so darn good, it didn't stop me from liking the books.

Hey, Deb, thanks! And you and me both, as far as LOTS yet to learn!!

Missy -- glad to find a fellow MPOVer who double-spaces between POVs!! And I agree that as writers we are far more sensitive to this subject than readers are.


Julie Lessman said...

"Let me go on the record and say I fell asleep during part 1 of GWtW. Didn't like Scarlett. Didn't like Melanie. Didn't like that guy who had a girl name. And I don't think Rhett had appeared on the scene.

Noooooooooooooooooooo!!! And to think I liked you at one time ...

Okay, I'm over it now. And I forgive you.

Mum actually left the movie theatre when it was on at intermission thinking it was over. She never liked it or saw it all. I would like to watch it all some time but just haven't gotten to it.

Jenny, I forgive you and your Mum too. But it isn't easy ... :)

Ausjenny said...

Thanks Julie I feel much better

(is now when i confess i haven't seen alot of the classics like Jane ayer (see cant even spell it)etc? and that I didn't get pride and prejudce? but I did like treasure Island)

Melanie Dickerson said...

ausjenny said: (is now when i confess i haven't seen alot of the classics like Jane ayer (see cant even spell it)etc? and that I didn't get pride and prejudce?

Oh, Jenny, now the knife is in my heart! I'll forgive you, even though Pride and Prejudice is my very favorite and Jane Eyre is my second favorite book of all time. Jane Austen's books are THE BEST! She's my HERO!

Ausjenny said...

Im sorry Melanie I guess I was a slow reader as a child, I loved reading but cos i was never good at spelling I read below my age. I loved The Magic faraway tree and other Enid Blyton books. I read and re read them. I use to get books from the book clubs at school too. but I struggled with some of the books we read at High school as they were above my age for reading. I couldn't read Anne of Green Gables cos when I tried it was to old for me but I love the series etc now. So classics like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice I really didn't understand. I did love the Cherry Ames nurse books. An The chronicals of narnia. I Guess as i got older I stopped reading for quite awhile and got back into it thanks to Janette Oke and the canadian west series (hence my love for mounties!) Some of the classics i have enjoyed from BBC.

Melanie Dickerson said...

It's great that there are so many different types of books out there. Something for everyone. But you might find you like Jane Austen if you tried reading her today, or Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. But then again, you might not. We all like different things! When I taught high school, I had to try to get those teenage boys to read. That was tough. I had to find something at their reading level that wouldn't bore them and wouldn't sound babyish to them. We read war books and a book called Hatchet, about a boy who survives on a deserted island with only a hatchet. (Kind of like us on Unpubbed Island, only we have a lot more tools!) So I'm just glad you're reading!

Ausjenny said...

I remember having to read Lord of the Flies in high school boy did i not like that book!

Amy said...

I loved Lord of the Flies! ha. I remember it gave me very disturbing dreams.

I just had to emerge from lurkdom to say, you must read Jane Eyre! Such a great book!

Oh and I've recently two GREAT books (not Christian fiction, though) with head hopping.

Margo Carmichael said...

Wonderful post, Julie. Thank you, thank you!

I've always said that one day we'd look back and decide we'd gone overboard on POV. Yes, there's a time and place for a shift if you do it right.

Sometimes there's no other way to handle it. It would be anticlimatic to learn the other's POV any other way than right there and then.

I loved Scarlett, by the way! She was selfish but totally giving, too, and strong. And when Rhett carried her up the stairs--!

Margo Carmichael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.