Friday, June 3, 2016

Best of the Archives: POV-CPR-ASAP-WUCIWUG

I'd been writing a long time before I got my first book published. I knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about writing when I started, except what I knew from reading. I just had a story I wanted to tell.
I really think I learned every single bit of the craft as slowly and painfully as possible.

So, when I entered my first contest, a lot of the contest comments were in a foreign language to me. Use the senses. I can't see her. Backstory dump. Show don't tell. POV error.


I knew none of that. I mean I didn't even know what the judge MEANT by POV error. I didn't know what POV was an abbreviation for. AND THERE WAS NO GOOGLE. I wasn't even online at home. I didn't know RWA existed for three years after I started. Seriously, Christian Fiction wasn't even invented yet. Redeeming Love had been published for about two event I consider marks the beginning of Christian fiction as we know it today.
ACFW wasn't even a twinkle in someone's eye.

So, I had to find out what POV was, then figure out what an error was. It was surprisingly hard. And one of the reasons it was hard was because most of the novels I was reading were head hoppers. Using a single POV per scene is the new style. And there are still plenty of books written by established authors who don't obey it.

But newer authors and even more importantly aspiring authors MUST USE ONE POV PER SCENE. To break that rule marks you as an amateur.

So I figured out what it all meant, then I plowed into my book to correct the POV errors. Only one trouble, I hated it. I built my story on her thoughts, his thoughts, the villain's thought, her thoughts again. All on one page.

How was I supposed to tell my story if I couldn't explain the thoughts that were pivotal to it.
Sooooo I was reading The Husband Tree and I hit a passage that I thought was a good example of using one person's POV but showing the thoughts and reactions of the other people…without committing a POV error.

The Husband Tree


All of a sudden Silas figured something out that he should have known all along. "We aren't taking a baby on a cattle drive."

Belle stepped away from his side, where just a second before he'd decided it was to be the two of them against the girls, and liked that just fine. She lined up with her daughters.

The whole gaggle of women froze. Even baby Elizabeth stopped her cheerful torment of Emma and stared at Silas.
Sarah took the eggs off the stove and, with a towel wrapped around it's handle, held the hot pan like it was a weapon. Lindsay set down the tin plates she was laying out with a sharp click.

The five women stood shoulder to shoulder against him.
They didn't look much alike. Lindsay and Emma some, but otherwise they were as different as if they shared not a drop of blood. But their eyes, whatever the color, held the same cold glare.

Belle could have slit his gullet with the sharp look she was giving him. She said quietly, but with a voice that spelled Silas's doom, "What kind of a man are you that you would go off and leave children home alone for so long?"

Not his doom as in he was fired. His doom as in he was going to have to go on a cattle drive with five woman, one of 'em wearing diapers."
There is no doubt in any readers mind (I hope) exactly how all six people in this scene feel about what is going on, but Silas is the POV character. He is seeing the woman react.

So do any of you struggle with POV? Everyone figured it out faster than I did, I'm sure. Of course you've got an advantage on me….you didn't start out your writing career chiseling your books into a chunk of granite.

This post first first appeared in Seekerville in 2250 BC and then again 1/4/2010. Comments are closed so we can catch up on reading and writing today.
 The 12 Brides of Summer Collection: 12 Historical Brides Find Love in the Good Old Summertime

 Meet 12 adventurous Victorian era women—a beekeeper who is afraid of bees, a music teacher whose dog has dug up a treasure, a baker who enters a faux courtship, and six more—along with the men they encounter while making summertime memories. Will these loves sown during summer be strengthened by faith and able to endure a lifetime?