Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Your Characters: Close-Up!

I love old movies...
Hepburn and Tracy. Myrna Loy and William Powell. John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. And some of those fifties and sixties “feel good” flicks. You know, Doris Day & Rock Hudson. Frankie and Annette. Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee.
One thing I’ve noticed about old movies is how much they vary in the use of “close-ups” of the actors. Understandably, when moving pictures first debuted, they were often filmed as if viewing the expanse of an entire theatrical stage. But as time went on, it very much seemed to depend on the director and his “vision” for the dramatic telling of the story. Or maybe it was that some directors and cinematographers didn’t fully grasp the power of moving in on their subject.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not as easily drawn into a movie when good close-ups are entirely absent. It’s almost as if I’m observing distant movement, hearing the inflection of voices and the words of dialogue, but never quite “connecting” with the actors. When done well, a close-up allows me to see the slightest nuances of an actor’s expression, the telltale flicker of emotion in his eyes. A good actor and a good close-up can almost enable me to eavesdrop on what they’re thinking.
Have you ever read a book that you had trouble getting into--and couldn’t immediately figure out why? Maybe only later you realized you struggled because you couldn’t “see” the hero or heroine. Yes, you’d been told he’s broad-shouldered and handsome. Lots of attitude. She’s petite, blonde, pretty. Shy. But if that’s all the closer you get to him or her, it’s very likely you may never “see” them, let alone connect with them at an emotional level. They march across the pages of the book, speaking their lines, but never coming to life.
For example:

....There was one piece of cherry pie left.
....She reached for the plate. At the same moment, so did someone on the other side of the serving table—Greg Bellamy. She looked up and met his eyes.
....He winked at her. “Looks like we’re both after the same thing.”
....“Sorry,” she said, tossing back her thick, dark braid. “It’s mine. I saw it first.”
....He laughed. “I like a girl who knows what she wants.”
Okay, this is nice enough, isn’t it? You get a sense of conflict here. The wink tells you there’s some flirtation going on. But take a look at how New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs did it in “Dockside.”
.....There was one piece of cherry pie left. If there was anything that could make Nina forget a cute guy, it was cherry pie from the Sky River Bakery.
.....She reached for the plate. At the same moment, so did someone on the other side of the serving table--Greg Bellamy. She looked up and met his eyes. His Bon-Jovi-blue eyes.
.....He winked at her. “Looks like we’re both after the same thing.”
.....Usually when a guy winked at a girl, it was totally cheesy. Not with Greg Bellamy. When he winked, it nearly made her knees buckle.
.....“Sorry,” she said, tossing back her thick, dark braid. “It’s mine. I saw it first.” Wink or no wink, she wasn’t backing down.
.....He laughed, his voice like melted chocolate. “I like a girl who knows what she wants.”
See the difference? The author invited us into Nina’s head--for a close-up. With minimal words she adds a deeper dimension to the scene. She injects an immediacy, a flavor, an emotional connection with the character that was otherwise lacking in the first “adequate” example of the scene.
Notice, too, how it’s written in what’s called deep point of view. No use of “she felt” or “she wondered” or “she thought.”
Here’s another example:
.....“I lost,” he told her.”
.....“That didn’t matter to me.”
.....“I screwed up. I—“
.....“You were wonderful,” she said. “Like a tiger out there. I never knew a person could skate so fast...then go straight for the jugular...I saw your face. The camera showed you up close. I felt as if I was right there.”
.....“I’m glad you weren’t--to see me lose.”
.....“But you nearly won.”
.....“Nearly doesn’t count in hockey”
Engaging dialogue. about this version in New York Times bestseller Luanne Rice’s “Summer Light?”
.....“I lost,” he told her.
.....“That didn’t matter to me.”
.....“I screwed up. I—“
.....“You were wonderful,” she said. “Like a tiger out there. I never knew a person could skate so fast...then go straight for the jugular...” May didn’t know what she was saying, how to describe her impressions of his game. But as she talked, she sensed some of the tightness leave his body. He didn’t say anything, but as she looked into his eyes, she felt him listening. “I saw your face. The camera showed you up close. I felt as if I was right there.”
.....“I’m glad you weren’t--to see me lose.”
.....“But you nearly won.”
.....“Nearly doesn’t count in hockey”
.....May didn’t know what to say to that.
Again, minimal words rather than paragraph-length asides, but there’s an enriching dimension added to the scene when we see it from within the thoughts of the viewpoint character.
What might it have been like had the scene been written from the hero’s point of view?
.....“I lost.” Martin’s jaw tightened as he avoided May’s too-tender gaze. She felt sorry for him. Just what he didn’t need right now--her pity.
.....“That didn’t matter to me,” she said, her soft words thrumming in his ears.
Who was she trying to kid? How could it not matter to her? Winning was everything in this business or you wouldn’t be in it for long. He looked like an idiot out on the ice tonight. To the fans. To his coach and team. To her.
.....“I screwed up. I--”
.....He tensed as she touched his arm.
.....“You were wonderful. Like a tiger out there. I never knew a person could skate so fast...then go straight for the jugular. I saw your face. The camera showed you up close. I felt as if I was right there.”
.....“I’m glad you weren’t--to see me lose.”
.....“But you nearly won.”
.....“Nearly doesn’t count in hockey.” Didn’t she get it? But nevertheless, he leaned in closer, clutching at her words just as a drowning man might grasp a life-line tossed into the stormy waves.
So today, let’s practice! Pick one of the three examples below and briefly flesh it out with a “close up” – getting inside a SINGLE character’s head to reveal more about them and their “take” on what’s happening in the dialogue snippet. THEN, try writing the same dialogue clip from the OTHER character’s point of view.
“I’m not going with you, and that’s that.”
“Why are you being so stubborn?”
“I’m not being stubborn. I just have a lot going on.”
“We’re leaving tomorrow.”
“I know.”
“I'm not sure when we’ll be back.”
“I know that, too.”
“I’ll handle this on my own.”
“You think you can?”
“I know I can.”
Have fun!
If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my August 2011 release “At Home In His Heart” (an RT Book Reviews “Reviewers Choice Award” nominee) and a 2012 decorative calendar ideal for keeping track of your deadlines, please mention it in the comments section--then watch our Weekend Edition for the winner!

Glynna Kaye’s Love Inspired “Dreaming of Home” was a 2010 finalist in the “Carol Award” and “Maggie Award,” as well as a first place winner of the 2010 “Booksellers Best” and “Beacon” awards. Glynna’s most recent release “At Home In His Heart” (August 2011) garnered a 4 ½ star review from national magazine “RT Book Reviews.” Her “High Country Hearts” debuts in March 2012.


Melissa Jagears said...

oooh, fun game, but I'm all "close-upped" out. I've just spent the last three hours doing that to an old chapter of mine. Ugh. I've noticed lately that in reading my WIPs, that if something just doesn't read right, the problem is almost always a shallow POV, even if I thought I was deep, I can make it deeper, or that I had panned out and lost my character's involvement in whatever is happening or being described for too long a period.

But the "melted chocolate voice" in the examples makes me want to go scrounge up some chocolate and melt it! But I gotta go to bed already. Night! (or more accurately "Morning" to the early birds that'll be commenting in the next few hours.) Happy Thanksgivign!

Cindy W. said...

Great post! I always love it when comparative examples are given. Thank you.

I would love to be entered into your giveaway. Thank you so much for the chance.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Glynna, what a great look at "how-to" pimp, primp and polish!

Love the deepened examples and the exercises. And we all know I DON'T PRETEND TO LOVE EXERCISE!!!!

But writing exercises!

Love 'em!

Leaving the first batch of pumpkin roll to get you guys started on a great and merry day-before-feast day!

Happy baking!

Debra E. Marvin said...

I found I also had to 'see' my character as in 'photo.' I had one for my hero but never found a photo that looked like my heroine...until just a couple of weeks ago and it really helped me polish.

Glynna, you've really shown how important every word is in dialogue. Sigh. This writing life is not for sissies.

Have a lovely holiday, everyone. I hope the work in the kitchen is short and the time sitting with family and friends is long. Be safe in your travels!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Glynna, What a great post. I love the examples. Like Cindy said, it helps to actually see what you are talking about.

Glynna writes wonderful characters and does a super job of getting into their feelings and emotions.

Ruthy girl, hurry up with those pumpkin rolls. I have coffee to go with it. Pumpkin spice flavored for the holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Jessica Nelson said...

How fun! I'm not sure I do this very well. What an interesting post.
So here's my attempt:

Troy faced Susan, the frown on his face nearly making her smile. “We’re leaving tomorrow.”
“I know.” Finally, a chance for her to start over.
“I'm not sure when we’ll be back.”
An overwhelming relief surged through her. She winked at Troy. “I know that, too.”

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Seekerville! Running late here. Not that I slept in. Was awake before 4 a.m. doing a red-line read-thru of the first 30K of my WIP due later in December. So I'm up to my eyeballs in revisions every free second I can get. Halfway there! Will take Thanksgiving off, then back to revisions!

Incidentally, it's during revisions that I really go Deep Point of View and get into the layering. Always wish I had more time for that part, though, as it's my favorite phase of the writing and I never feel I have enough time to do it justice.

Glynna Kaye said...

MELISSA--I don't blame you for being done with the "close ups" after three hours of it!

You're so right--sometimes what's missing in an otherwise acceptable scene is the deep POV that really connects you to the action and dialogue.

I'm a big fan of dark chocolate, but I recently discovered a really YUMMY version of Terry's Chocolate Orange -- in WHITE chocolate. You can find it at Walmart, back in the holiday candy section.

Glynna Kaye said...

CINDY W -- I like comparative examples, too. Sometimes people can TELL me something about a nuance of the writing craft until they're blue in the face, but it doesn't sink in. If I can SEE it in action it makes all the difference and I can look at my own writing with new eyes.

Patsy said...

Yes, I would love to be in the drawing for the book and calendar. I love all Love Inspired books. I'll have to say - I'm addicted to them!

Have a safe Thanksgiving

Glynna Kaye said...

HEY, RUTHY! Pumpkin roll. MmmmMmmm! Tonight I'll be making "pumpkin parfait" for Thanksgiving dessert. Sounds decadent, doesn't it? But it's FAT FREE. No foolin'!

Glynna Kaye said...

GOOD MORNING, DEBRA! It's funny about trying to find a photo of a hero and heroine--you can look at a hundred of them and don't "recognize" them at all. Then all of a sudden a photo jumps out at you--THAT'S HIM!

With Love Inspired we have to submit photos of our main characters and descriptions for the art fact sheet. It took me FOREVER to find just the right one for my August release. I actually went to two bookstores looking through hunting and fishing magazines until I finally found HIM. Big burly mountain guy. Close-cropped, neatly clipped beard. A perfect match for my tough ex-Army sergeant hero. Apparently, though, experienced marketers knew his clean-cut cousin would sell more books! So two things to remember in this business: don't get too attached to your original title OR your hero's face!

Julie Lessman said...

GLYNNA!!!! What??? No Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh????

Well, I'll forgive you because you have Doris Day and Rock Hudson down (LOVE Doris Day movies, especially with Cary Grant, though). Doris Day was my first "moral" lesson about being a good girl, and I LOVED the chase and the good girl winning out. :)

EXCELLENT blog today, my friend -- for me, nothing is better than getting "close-up" to my characters, fleshing them out, crawling inside their brains, and I feel the same way as a reader -- LOVE that intimacy and close feel you get as if you are best friends with the character or related to them -- SOOOO fun!!

I'm having 25 people for Thanksgiving tomorrow or I just might give your little exercise a shot, but at the moment, the only shot I'm having is a double jolt of caffeine to get this old body moving and grooving, you know???

Happy Thanksgiving, all!!


Connie Queen said...

I love reading exercising to see how different the same sentences can be.

And yes shallow pov makes it near impossible to care about a character.

Jessica, I love "the frown on his face nearly making her smile."

Glynna Kaye said...

GOOD MORNING, SANDRA! It was so great to see you at the Northern Arizona RWA meeting last weekend!

ALL - Sandra presented two hour-long workshops -- one on researching a story and the other on writing multiple genres. Some great things to think about!

Glynna Kaye said...

YAY, JESSICA! Our first brave soul. The thing is when you all do exercises in Seekerville, it makes me want to read the rest of a scene!

Glynna Kaye said...

PATSY -- at least an addition to Love Inspired books is a GOOD thing!! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

TWENTY-FIVE GUESTS, JULIE!? Whoa! Definitely saying a prayer for YOU!

I'll have to be popping in an out today myself, as I have a rapidly approaching book deadline and it might be a good idea to do some Thanksgiving prep as well!!

Glynna Kaye said...

HI, CONNIE! Glad you could stop by! I have a feeling it will be fairly quiet here on the streets of Seekerville today. Lots of folks traveling, preparing for the arrival of family and friends, and making sure the turkey gets thawed in time!

Kirsten Arnold said...


Thanks for the lesson this morning and the great examples. Here's my attempt for today.

“I’ll handle this on my own.” Amy tossed back a hunk of red curls and snatched the lug nut wrench from a muscled hand twice the size of her own. Against her will her fingers brushed against the warm calloused skin raising the small hairs on her arms.

She counted to ten when Ben’s mustache twitched in suppressed humor. “You think you can?” He hitched his thumbs in the front belt loops of jeans and gave a nod to the flat tire.

Her grip tightened on the cold iron in an effort to keep from knocking the smirk off his, I- look- like- a- classic- Michelangelo- statue- come-to-life face. Heat touched her cheeks, or worse she might get lost in those midnight blue eyes and propose right here on the shoulder of Highway One.

“I know I can.” She stomped toward the front of the Jeep and prayed for Divine inspiration. How did one change a tire?

The Other Character's POV

“I’ll handle this on my own.” Amy tossed back a handful of thick red-gold hair. Ben stared mesmerized as all those curls caught fire in rays of sunlight.

He crashed back to earth when her long fingers brushed his as she tugged the lug nut wrench from his grip. He hitched his thumbs in the belt loops of his jeans to keep from lacing his fingers with hers. “You think you can?”

The side of his mouth tugged up. Her face flushed to match her hair and lightening flashed through her forest green eyes. “I know I can.”

She thundered away. Ben turned his face toward Heaven and started counting. How long before she realized you had to remove the hub cap?

Would love to be entered in your giveaway. Thanks!


Kav said...

Okay -- I'm game to play. Here's my attempt at a close up. Love this analogy by the way! A

“I’ll handle this on my own.”

The stubborn tilt to Maggie’s chin told him to back off but he couldn’t. Gramps had raised him to be a gentleman and three decades later, the old man’s lessons were ingrained. He could no more walk away from this flat tire than he could stop his heart from speeding up at Mags’ close proximity. Defiant green eyes met his as she squared her shoulders, her back rigid, jaw clenched.

“You think you can?” Not the right thing to say judging by the way her gloved hands curled into fists.

“I know I can.” Her clipped words spoke of more than the mechanical skill needed to fix her car problem.

Grinning, he ignored her combative stance as he reached for the wrench. Grandpa had also taught him to tackle one problem at a time.

Glynna Kaye said...

KIRSTEN!! Both of those POV examples made me smile! I think maybe you need to flesh out a WHOLE BOOK around this scene! Once again, I want to keep on reading!

Glynna Kaye said...

KAV -- Another flat tire, but look how different the scene sounds from Kirsten's example just because of a variation in POV. I love seeing how a good writer can take a simple line or two of dialogue and flesh it out like this. Well done!

Annie Rains said...

Loved your post! Our local RWA chapter just did a meeting on deep point of voice--it was the first time I've ever heard the term. And I was left with a lingering question. Can you answer it for me?

In my current manuscript, I'm rotating between the hero and the heroine's POV, using lots of deep POV. Can I have some scenes where I do deep POV for both at the same time? Kind of like an omniscent deep POV?

I'd love to be entered in today's drawing for your book and the calendar. I've already read your book--loved it--but Christmas is coming and what a wonderful gift to give.

Audra Harders said...

Glynna, I loved your examples of deep POV. Adds such a dimension to the writing and the story. And in so few words.

I love "knowing" the characters. What makes them tick. It's posts like this one that show how simple it is to accomplish the sought after depth of character.

Just a few words, that's all it takes.

And really. No matter how cute the guy, I would never let him have the slice of pie!!

Happy Thanksgiving, all!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Glynna... fat free.....

Yumbola, Sistah!

I cannot say I've eaten anything fat-free in far too many weeks to count.

Reeeediculous, actually!

But I love fall foods. I love pumpkin and apple ANYTHING....Oh sweet breeze of heaven, this is not a good time of year to diet! ;)

Sounds great, kiddo. Come share it at the cafe' sometime. We'll have a party!

Glynna Kaye said...

HI, ANNIE! There ARE writers who do that double-POV back-and-forth in a single scene (it's called "head hopping"). Even some NY Times bestsellers do it! But it seems most editors prefer to see a scene in a single POV as it's less confusing for readers. I know for the most part, new writers are encouraged not to head hop.

I personally find head hopping throws me out of the story when I read scenes written with the back-and-forth POV. It distances me from the characters so I never really connect with either of them.

What I've resorted to when I need both POVS in a single scene is to write it up to a point solely in the head of one character -- then I switch solely to the other character's POV.

On a blank line right after the first POV ends, I place and center a scene break marker: # # #. Then I start the other POV on the next line below that.

In fact, I'm working on a scene like that right now. It's a long scene and I felt it was TOO long to continue in one character's POV without knowing how it was impacting the other.

So I wrote the first part of the scene in the heroine's POV, and I end her part with a "hook" last line, just like I might a chapter ending--something that makes it clear to the reader she needs to read on.

Then I started the hero's POV, picking up with his reaction to her part of the scene and making it clear by the way I write it that it's a continuation of the same scene, not a new time and place.

Hope that helps!

ALL - Do any of the rest of you who are published effectively do a back-and-forth POV in a single scene? You might be able to better shed some light on how it can be done effectively.

Glynna Kaye said...

HEY THERE, AUDRA! Guess everyone had better step back from the table and no one will get hurt tomorrow when you spy that last slice, eh? :)

Glynna Kaye said...

RUTHY--The months of September thru December are my favorite times of the year to cook. The rest of the year, except for grilling and indulging in farm-fresh corn on the cob, I could take it or leave it. :) I'll have to share the fat free recipe in Yankee Belle! And yes it actually tastes GOOD!

Keli Gwyn said...

Glynna, thanks for the great examples on how to delve more deeply into our characters. You done good!

Wishing you, your Seekerville pals, and friends of Seekerville in the U.S. a very happy Thanksgiving.

Sherri Shackelford said...

What wonderful examples! One of the things I really enjoy about romance books these days is the male POV. I'd love to revisit the POV of those male characters in older romance books :)

Sherri Shackelford

Jan Drexler said...

Glynna, this post is perfect. I'm devoting my time to working on characters this week, and the timing couldn't be better!

And I love these fun games! Here goes:

First one way:

“We’re leaving tomorrow.” David’s words breathed against the back of Tess’s neck as he stepped in close.

She closed her eyes, but even that failed to shut out the sight of the loaded wagons in the street. Tess leaned back into his encircling arms, drawing sustenance from his strength.

“I know.” The words caught in her throat.

David tightened his grip, nuzzling the ticklish spot behind her ear. “I'm not sure when we’ll be back.”

He would never be back. She was as sure of that as the snow melting in the spring.

“I know that, too.”

And the other way:

Tess stood at the window, watching as the last wagons were loaded. She was lovely, bewitching, and vulnerable. David had no business even considering taking her along…but how would he survive without her?

He stepped close and pulled her against him, molding her body to his. “We’re leaving tomorrow.”

“I know.” Her voice was strained, broken.

David pulled her closer, burying his nose in her hair. He breathed deeply. He could at least take the memory of her scent with him.

“I’m not sure when we’ll be back.”

Her body stiffened against his, the separation already beginning. “I know that, too.”

I'd love to be in the drawing, too!

Kirsten Arnold said...

Thanks, Glynna! I had fun with the scenes. I just might have to continue this story. :o)


Glynna Kaye said...

Thanks, Keli! Wishing you a very special Thanksgiving, too!

Gwendolyn Gage said...

I love these examples! Thanks, Glynna, for showing how we can make diolouge better, richer and more personal. Happy Thanksgiving!

Glynna Kaye said...

SHERRI -- I really like the hero's POV, too. But it's something I NEVER attempted to write until I decided in 2008 to target Love Inspired. In fact, for the longest time, I wrote in only the heroine's point of view -- first person. Really tricky to get that male POV right!

Glynna Kaye said...

OH MY GOODNESS, JAN! Such tender, tender scenes. I could almost feel myself there. Great job!

Glynna Kaye said...

Happy thanksgiving to you, too, GWENDOLYN! So glad the examples are helpful.

Susan Anne Mason said...


Great post! I always love ones about Deep POV - which I'm finally beginning to understand! Alleluia!

It does add such depth and richness to the reading experience.

Loved all the examples given here, too. Makes me want to get home and write!! Might try the examples later, but right now I'm at work. SHHH..

I want to wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. I'll be thinking of you all eating turkey tomorrow (that is what you Americans eat on Thanksgiving right? Or is it Christmas that you do turkey? We do it for both!)

Love to be in the draw.

sbmason at sympatico dot ca

Jan Drexler said...

Glynna - thanks you for your comments - made me smile after a rough morning of revisions :)

Sue - we eat turkey whenever we can. Thanksgiving, Christmas, January, February, March...

Have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving everyone!

Mary Connealy said...

This isn't exactly a romance scene.

“Can you carry the pecan pie to the car, honey?” Mary already had the crescent rolls balanced in one hand, a poorly wrapped, red hot Corelle casserole dish with a vegetable cheese medley in the other, her purse hanging from her wrist, a white plastic grocery bag full of pretty napkins and plates hanging from the other. She had exactly one finger to spare to open the stupid door.
“I’m not going with you, and that’s that.” Ever since he’d started his stupid diet, Duke barely left home. As if exposure to food would be too much temptation.
Mary glanced at her pecan pie, spitefully glad he wasn’t going to get any. “Why are you being so stubborn?”
It wasn’t like he wouldn’t have fun. Ever since Mom gave away the last thirty-five cats and got her vacuum fixed, the old homestead was a welcoming place
“I’m not being stubborn. I just have a lot going on.” He waved the remote at her as if he was starting a Nascar race.
As she made her second trip to the car carrying everything herself, she wondered if the big jerk knew all he had to be thankful for.
First and foremost, that she liked pecan pie.
Otherwise he’d be wearing it.

Glynna Kaye said...

SUSAN -- Your secret is safe with us!! I'm taking today off to make some headway on my WIP and to get ready for tomorrow. Yes, turkey is traditional for Thanksgiving in the U.S. And in my family, Mom adds cornbread dressing. Homemade noodles. Mashed potatoes. YUM! Definitely time for a nap after all that!

Here in the Southwest, though, things often take on a Mexican flavor around Christmastime. Tamales!

Glynna Kaye said...

LOVE IT, MARY!!! You're so good at this!!

Jan Drexler said...

Does anyone else wonder if Mary's contribution is more autobiographical than fiction?

(and I'm too far away to be hit by a flying pecan pie!)

Vince said...

Hi Glynna:

It’s funny but you pointed out what I dislike most about movies: the dictatorial power of the director. You are forced to watch the director’s vision of the film.

I like to do my own editing. That’s why I love plays. I watch what I want to watch in a play. I might concentrate on a minor character in the background if I feel that is more interesting. I partially don’t like close-ups as I feel they are an easy way out for the director. I rather see good writing and the context covey the emotion than a tear forming on an eye the size of a movie theater. I love live theater.

I did learn a lot from “Midnight in Paris” by Woody Allen. There are sixty scenes and each scene advances the story in three to four different ways. The first words a character speaks in the film define that character. After the character speaks, you know that character. It’s absolutely amazing how much Allen does in a few seconds. This was done with words and context alone but then you would expect this from a comedian.

I just wonder: have any of the writers here thought about writing the first lines of dialogue a character utters in such a way that that character is instantly defined?

I had not thought of this until after I’d seen “Midnight in Pairs” many times. But now that I look back, I think Julie did this at the start of “A Passion Most Pure”.

Sisters are overrated, she decided. Not all of them of course, only the beautiful ones who never let you forget it. Faith O’Connor stood on tiptoe, behind the side porch, squinting through her mother’s prized lilac bush.”

In just a couple of lines I know both Faith and Charity.

Missy also did something like this in an early book where a waitress mentioned someone smelled like money (it may have been Fort Knox). Sorry I can’t find the book. (That’s the trouble with print books. You have to find them! I found Julie's book, out of 1000 on my Kindle, in ten seconds! Print lovers, take that! :))

BTW: I loved you post and your new book. Your books take place where I would like to live.


Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Glynna, THANK YOU for this fun exercise! Had some spare time at work so I put these together, from his and her perspectives. From a story I've been playing around with for several years. Sorry, they're a bit long.

Daniel had slogged his way up Omaha Beach, dodging German bullets intent on ripping the life away from him. He'd crawled through sand wet from warm, crimson-red blood, not cold, dark saltwater. He'd seen so many eyes glaze over in pain, shock and ultimately death.

But telling Renate goodbye was almost as hard as facing the German snipers on Omaha beach all over again.

“We're leaving tomorrow.”

He heard her sharp intake of breath. He watched as her eyes, which had been so guarded when they first met, fill with hot human tears. But they iced over just as quick.

“I know.” Renate's thick German accent made her words sound harsher than they were. She stared at him defiantly.

Didn't she care? Did the past week mean nothing to her?

“We're marching toward Berlin. I'm not sure when we'll be back. If we'll be back.” He let his words carry the implications of a war not yet won.

“I know that, too,” she replied softly. Their eyes met, and Daniel drew in his breath at the feeling he saw in their blue depths.

A promise of a life, a life in America together when all the death and destruction was over, hung in his mind. Renate in his mother's wedding dress, coming toward him down a long aisle. Her smile, that rare, elusive thing that transformed her face from beautiful to near perfection, blooming in sheer joy.

It's what Daniel wanted.

And she may be trying to be strong now, the woman who could defy her homeland and help Allied troops conquer her people, but he knew Renate wanted it too.


“We're leaving tomorrow.”

All the happiness that had been Renate's for the past week vanished in an instant as Daniel's words sunk into her soul. All the hopes she had cherished crumbled like Poland's resistance to the Nazi war machine a few years earlier.

She drew in a breath, ashamed of the tears that had flooded her eyes. She was determined to let him know she could let go as easily as he. “I know.”

She had hurt him, she could tell, but they both knew falling in love in the midst of a raging war wasn't going to have a happy ending, no matter how much she wanted it. Men like Daniel Sterling could go back to America, the land of dreams and plenty, while women like her, defiled, used-up women with too much strength to give up when they knew they were defeated, had to continue on in the most hated land in the world.

But Daniel pressed on, unaware perhaps of the pain he was inflicting on the soul she had allowed to thaw when he came into her life.

“We're marching toward Berlin. I'm not sure when we'll be back.” He drew in a breath. “If we'll be back.”

He didn't want to leave as much as she didn't want him to go. He loved her.

And suddenly, Renate wanted him to see she loved him too. That his leaving her was killing her just as much as the bombs that had strafed the village three days earlier. “I know that, too.”

Annie Rains said...

Thanks, Glynna! I copied and pasted your answer and sent it to my critique group. We've been emailing back and forth about whether or not it's okay. It was a very helpful answer.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Donna said...

I should be getting prepared for tomorrow but this is a lot more fun!

She knew he was there but kept her back to him. If she saw his handsome face he might be able to talk her out of going. Leaving was the only way she was going to survive loving Devon Pace. "We're leaving tomorrow."
"I know."
Did his voice sound somber or was it just her heart hearing what it wanted to hear? "I'm not sure when we'll be back."
"I know that, too."
Unable to resist, she turned to see if she could read anything in those hazel eyes that haunt her dreams every night.
He was gone. She fought the tears with everything she had. "As God is my witness, I'm not going to shed one more tear over that man."

She had her back to him as he stood in the doorway, but he didn't dare go any closer. He was hanging on by a thread.
"We're leaving tomorrow."
He didn't quite trust his voice, so he cleared his throat before he answered. "I know."
"I'm not sure when we'll be back."
She sounded like she didn't have a care in the world. "I know that too." He was afraid if he kept standing there he would cross the room and end up begging her not to leave him again. So he fled with his pride. It was all he had left.

I'd love to be entered for the drawing!
lostie815 at hotmail dot com

Jeanne T said...

Loved this, Glynna! I have two kidless hours to work on NaNo for right now, but I hope to come back later and play here, and to read what everyone came up with.

Loved how you showed what going into deeper POV looks like. Thank you!

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

BTW, I'd love to be entered in the drawing!

stephludwig at hotmail dot com

Mary Connealy said...

As always, my love of pie will save you, Jan. Happy Thanksgiving.

Jan Drexler said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Mary! Enjoy your pie :)

Glynna Kaye said...

JAN -- I wondered the same thing but wasn't brave enough to voice it. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

HI, VINCE! I love live theatre, too and, like you, I enjoy watching the not-in-the-spotlight characters on stage. Good actors will never forget they're in character, a part of the whole, even if they aren't called upon at the moment to speak.

That Woody Allen "Midnight in Paris" sounds fascinating. And the book you're thinking of for Missy is "Her Unlikley Family" which opens "If there was one thing Josie Miller knew, it was the smell of a rich man. And whoever had just walked into the diner smelled like Fort Knox."

I found it in two seconds by just reaching up to my desk's overflowing "Seeker shelf." :)

I try to reveal something about the viewpoint character in an opening line, but not necessarily about both characters as you've highlighted. I'll keep that in mind!

I'm delighted you enjoyed my most recent book!

Glynna Kaye said...

STEPHANIE-- Fabulous! Both of those really pulled me it. Made me care. It's amazing how a few skeltal lines of dialogue can, under the hand of a skillful writer, become flesh and blood.

Glynna Kaye said...

ANNIE -- Glad my response gives you and your critique group something to add to the discussion.

I think the POV question doesn't really have a "right" answer. But maybe a preferred answer, depending on the tastes of your editor and readers. Above all, you want to make certain your reader connects to the point-of-view character and doesn't get confused.

Janet Dean said...

Glynna, I love movies--romantic comedies, kids movies, feel-good movies.

Thanks for the excellent examples of how to connect readers to our characters. I know writers can overdo introspection but I love to be in a character's head, in deep POV.

Yum! Ruthy, thanks for the pumpkin roll.

Julie, wow, you're the hostess with the mostest! We're having ten though I'm cooking enough for twice that number. Off to make lasagna for dinner after a day of shopping Black Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!


Glynna Kaye said...

DONNA -- This is great! I ove the way you've let us get into their heads, see the same scene from a different POV.

I actually sometimes do this with a troublesome scene--write it from her POV, then his--to see which one has the stronger emotional pull. That's the one I keep.

Glynna Kaye said...

JEANNE T -- Sorry for luring you away from NaNo and few kidless hours! Just ignore us for awhile. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

JANET -- You're so right -- everything in moderation as ANYTHING can be overdone and wear out its welcome.

So you're a Black Friday shoppper are you? I have to admit, I've never done that. I guess I should go out at least once to experience the thrill of the chase, but I'll probably be holed up with a good book--or red-lining a manuscript come Friday!

Mary Connealy said...

25 people for Thanksgiving, huh?
Well, my MOM is having about 40. It's madness. We're having it at the church.
When we have it at her home, which is a large, lovely home btw, so it's not that HOUSE'S fault, it reminds me of an episode of Star Trek. The original series.
Does anyone remember the episode where Capt. Kirk is transported onto an exact replica of the Enterprise, but he thinks hes still on the Enterprise except everyone is GONE. Then he finds a woman who is...ahem...FRIENDLY to him in hopes of catching a disease (no, not that kind of friendly disease, shame on you!!!)
The fake ship is on her home planet which is overcrowded and she hopes to infect her incredibly healthy planet with the disease so they can all die off?
There's this moment in that episode where the main screen on the deck of the Enterprise suddenly quits working to show the fake sky and instead Kirk sees the outside world, her planet and it is so crowded no one can move, they're all just jammed together, inching along, hopelessly stuck.

Well, that moment, the window opening moment, that's pretty much my family get togethers at Mom's house if we all show up.
That moment plus turkey.

Not saying it's not fun......

Virginia said...

Oh MAN! I have a nursing baby on my lap who is not enjoying the bumpety-bump of my typing forearms, but I had to say...

These are AWESOME! I want to read every one of these scenes in a book! :D

There's no way I could whipe out a good scene like these in a few seconds. You all are amazing!

And the first time I entered a cotnest the lovely judge said , 'I'm no POV Nazi but this doesn't work here'. I was trying to insert the hero POV at the last minute because I heard that it HAD to be there. Um, no, not if it doesn't work!

That was great advice. And now, I keep the POV switches to the end of scenes or different scenes altogether.

Janet Kerr said...

Hello Glynna,
Thanks for the great examples. This is a wonderful way to learn.

Oh, and please enter me in your giveaway.

Jan K.


Jan Drexler said...

Mary, I remember that episode! It's a good thing the church is available - -

We used to do the same thing when my Grandma was still alive - there came a time when all of her children and grandchildren just didn't fit in the house at the same time anymore...and then when you start adding in-laws, it's a madhouse (not the in-laws' fault. not completely.)

We're only having seven around our table. Our family minus the two who are in Kansas, plus some people from church. I feel like such a piker.

Not in a bad way - it's just that I love having a crowd over.

Glynna Kaye said...

MARY! Somehow I missed that episode of Star Trek! So don't go and leave us all hanging here! What happened to the people on the crowded planet????

Glynna Kaye said...

Wow, VIRGINIA! You're really dedicated to type with a baby on your lap!

Everybody's doing such a great job with these deep POV examples, I'll need to do another red-line of my current manuscript to bring it up to the standards set here today!

Linnette R Mullin said...

Characters! I love characters! I love making them and getting to know them and writing their stories. I just can't write fast enough to suit my creativity. Anybody else have that problem? So, I end up writing short stories when I get writer's block.

Please count me in for the drawing.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! :D

Linnette R Mullin said...

PS... Those who have read my work have been surprised at how real my dialogue is. I just imagine the conversation in my head and type away. :D

Pam Hillman said...

Glynna, what a great post and some of these examples are just as wonderful.

I'm taking NOTES!

Ausjenny said...

Dont enter me I have the book On my tbr list soon!
I appreciate the post and it may explain why some books take longer to get into than others. I read a couple recently that seemed to take longer (probably not really but it felt it) to read and just didn't grab my attention as much they improve by mid way but I felt I was waiting for something but not sure what then I read Mail Order Christmas Brides by Jillian Hart and Janet Tronstad and again before I know it I was on page 50. this was the same with both stories. I think the reason is just what you are saying Glynna. These books have the close ups and really engage me quickly but the other ones that I took awhile to really get into didn't grab me as much, they were not bad books just didn't make me connect as quick.(reading Lyn Cotes now and although only a about 10 pages in shes does the same I would have read more if my eyes could have stayed open!)

Glynna Kaye said...

HI, LINNETTE! Wish I was a fast writer, too! It would be fun to write some novellas and shorter pieces just for a change of pace. Unfortunately...

Dialogue IS so fun to write, isn't it?!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, JENNY! If an author can hook me on that first page or so, taking me into deep POV mixed with an intriguing opening situation, time really flies.

I'll have to find Mail Order Brides. When things get so crazy around the holidays I love to read something a bit shorter than a full-length novel. So short stories and novellas are perfect. However, I just found Ruthy's "Yuletide Hearts" at Walmart yesterday, so I may have to make an exception. :)

Walt Mussell said...

I will have to say that I'm always up for a book of Glynna's.

Also, i really enjoyed the way you took a passage, showing it flat and then shifting to deeper POV. That continues to be a challenge for me.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Glynna Kaye said...

HELLO, WALT! Deep point of view is challenging but also a lot of fun. When done well, it can really add dimension to even the simplest of scenes -- as can be seen from the 3 brief lines that everyone fleshed out today!

Whitney said...

Oh, for those old Hollywood romances! Bogie and Bacall! Myrna Loy and William Powell! Cary Grant and Irene Dunn!

Love the post. Here’s my attempt at:
“We’re leaving tomorrow.”
“I know.”
“I'm not sure when we’ll be back.”
“I know that, too.”

“We’re leaving tomorrow,” Bruce squinted over his shoulder into the russet Arizona landscape, his mind seemingly as far away as the distant mountains.

Elise’s chest froze momentarily, her intake of breath suspended in time. “I know.”

The sky faded behind them, pink and orange shades stacking atop one another.

“I'm not sure when we’ll be back.” Bruce reached across the small gap between them and lightly gripped her fingertips, his gaze massaging her hand. The wind picked up and slurred past them, solemn, before settling once again with an indistinguishable hush.

“I know that, too.”

Please enter me in the drawing. : )


Glynna Kaye said...

GREAT JOB, WHITNEY! I especially like your fresh word usuage -- describing the Arizona landscape as russet and wind that slurred.

Tina Radcliffe said...

OH, my, my, my I am loving these most excellent examples, GK!!

Mary Connealy said...

Well, the woman got sick. And if I remember right she was supposed to 'die' as an example to everyone else that it's cool to die and thus they should all die, too, to give the planet hope (and some space). (I suspect there was a larger point but it escapes me now.)
But Kirk figured it out and got her back to the REAL Enterprise and saved her but, if I recall, she was now a carrier and would kill off all her healthy fellow citizens. So, oddly enough, that counted as a happy ending.

btw, this is not the part of the story that makes me think of my family. They're all healthy as horses.
Which is good, Thanksgiving crowd not-with-standing.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Glynna. The examples are so helpful. Been working on deep POV and it transforms the writing to another level. Really appreciate your attention to detail.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.


karenk said...

happy thanksgiving seekers :)

thanks for today's giveaways, too

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Missy Tippens said...

Glynna, great post!! So interesting how you showed the bare bones, then showed us the real version.

I'm with family right now so can't take time to do my own attempt. But wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the post!

Jackie S. said...

I am reading Ruthy's Yuletide it. Don't enter me, Glynna, as I have read your was fantastic.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Linnette R Mullin said...

Oh, Glynna! Dialogue is an absolute BLAST!!! :D Happy Thanksgiving!

Pam Hillman said...

Mary, that is a weird story.

Just sayin'

Can we get a close-up of that?

Joy said...

Loved the examples that you gave. When you use Deep Point of View, it really makes the characters stand out even more. Thank you for taking the time to explain DPoV, as I didn't know what it was called! Would love to be entered for the giveaway.