POV

One of the aspects of writing that is difficult for me is Point of View (POV).

Point of view is basically who is telling the story you are reading. The easy example is first person point of view – I walked my dog in the park when I saw a wonderous site. A UFO landed right in front of me and I couldn’t believe it. My dog, of course, went crazy.

The other one that is popular and fairly easy is third person – George walked his dog in the park and saw something wondrous. A UFO landed in front of him and he was shocked. His dog barked at it.

There are some slightly different variations and there is also 2nd point of view, but I’m not going to go into that much here.

My problem is something they call head hopping. When you right from a third person point of view, you can be omniscient or focused. When omniscient, you can see in the heads of all the characters and when focused, you usually stay with one character. The problem is, in any scene you should stay focused on one character or it gets confusing. That is something I have a hard time with and it’s hard for me to even recognize it.

Here is an example my editor gave me. It is from Martin & James vs. The Masked Moss-Trooper.

Martin’s POV is red, while James’ is blue.

Martin grabbed the ladder and climbed hurriedly. A noise below caused him to glance down and see James climbing. 

“James, do go into the car and wait for me. It is much too dangerous up here. I cannot be responsible for you and apprehend Victor at the same time.”

The little face looked up, voice whining. “But sir, I’m your partner.” Not getting the reaction he wanted, James tried again.  “Please, I won’t screw up like last time, I promise. Cross my heart, well, if I wasn’t holding a ladder I’d cross my heart.”

You can probably see fairly easily how the first part is as if we were in Martin’s head and the next part we are in James head. When I was writing it and reading it and re-writing it, that never stood out to me.

Here it is rewritten:

Martin grabbed the ladder and climbed hurriedly. A noise below caused him to glance down and see James climbing. 

“James, do go into the car and wait for me. It is much too dangerous up here. I cannot be responsible for you and apprehend Victor at the same time.”

The little face looked up, voice whining. “But sir, I’m your partner.” When Martin didn’t respond, he took another step up the rung.  “Please, I won’t screw up like last time, I promise. Cross my heart, well, if I wasn’t holding a ladder I’d cross my heart.

It’s subtle and the rewritten part says the same thing, it’s just the way it’s said. Some people don’t find it jarring and think it sounds fine the first way. This isn’t the best example, so let me try another one. Here is an example from later in the story when Martin is facing Vincent.

The triangle shape made this blade unique and Martin knew he had to be careful or he’d receive more than a cut from it. (Martin POV) Vincent tensed, readying himself, knowing he could overtake the other man, but before he could close the distance, there was a clatter as the door behind him opened. (Vincent POV) 

That one is much more clear. The POV definitely shifts between the two characters. We head hop from one to the other.

The triangle shape made this blade unique and Martin knew he had to be careful or he’d receive more than a cut from it. Martin readied himself as he saw Vincent tense. He knew he could overtake the other man if he was careful of the blade. Before he could close the distance, there was a clatter as the door behind Vincent opened.

This is an area of writing I still struggle with and will continue to work on. I want to thank Cate Hogan for helping with the examples above. I hope that I can use the knowledge I’ve gained to be able to go through my manuscripts and fix them so that they read better, because getting people to read them is the whole point.

Kindle Scout

I must say, there are quite a few opportunities for independent authors in today’s world. Kindle publishing started a revolution and many people have had success with it and there are quite a few really good books that may not have gotten published without these avenues. Is it still a struggle and does it still take a good book? Of course. In fact, for the independent author/publisher, it can be harder to get sufficient recognition and readership.

Have you ever gotten a book from your favorite bookstore, only to discover it sucked and probably shouldn’t have been published? Why was it available and why did you get it? I’m going to bet that the publisher’s marketing had something to do with that. Everything from ads, the book cover, and the book description. The only problem was that the book really wasn’t that good, just the marketing.

For an independent, it’s even harder. It’s more difficult to get the word out and get people to give your book a try. But when you have a traditional publisher pushing a book, it already has some credibility because it’s coming from a trusted publisher.

I think many of us realize this in today’s world. Each year, more independent authors are getting recognized and read. this is a good thing all around. Can you still get a crap book? Of course, but the ability to find books that are focused on what you like is enormous.

I recently was made aware of what seems to be a great avenue for new, independent authors to get a boost. Kindle Scout is one of Amazon’s initiatives. The focus of Kindle Scout is to allow an author to put a book out there for anyone to check out and see if it’s something they would be interested in. If you find a book that sounds interesting and would be something you may like to read, you can vote on it. After a month, if a book has enough votes it will be chosen for publication. If a book that you vote on was chosen for publication, you get it for free to read.

This is a great system. I just wish more people knew about this and would go to vote for books. There are some great authors out there that may not be known, just because of obscurity. It’s great that this provides an avenue for authors to get their works known.

UPDATE:

I started this post without finishing it right away. Between the time and started and now, Kindle Scout is closing. They are no longer accepting admissions, so all the good it may have done will be no more. I’m saddened by this. I can understand that it may have been a lot of work for little reward and that there may not have been as many people submitting or voting as desired. Again, I wish people would be more active when things like this are available.

That said – I would love to see someone else do something like this? Maybe with kids to allow them to get excited and interested in writing and reading.

Met Iam Douglas

This quick post is a life event for me that goes back to September 2015. This was a very exciting time. Without knowing it, my life was changing. While attending some plans I had for the weekend, I met Ian Douglas – author of tons of sci-fi books. And I didn’t even know who he was at the time. Wonderful fellow that writes wonderful books. He was a large part of the inspiration for me to finally quit thinking about writing and to actually write.

He is a super nice guy and writes stupendous stories. His newest is the Andromeda Dark series.