Thursday, June 25, 2009

Multiple POVs or Head Hopping?

Now that I've done the rewrite on my WIP from first to third person, I'm facing the dilemma of just how many points of view are necessary. Do I want several points of view from the get-go? Do I want just the heroine's point of view from the start then add the hero later? Do I want the villain's point of view? So many choices!

I've read quite a few romances lately and I've noticed that quite a few romance authors hop around between the heroine's and hero's points of view, sometimes in alternating paragraphs, sections or scenes. Especially in intense scenes you'll get the same scene from both points of view switching back and forth. I personally don't have a problem with this. It makes the scene seem more intense and if it's well done, as a reader you know how each character is reacting to the same set of circumstances. It makes the story seem more intimate.

However, sometimes it's distracting or downright confusing if it's not handled right because as a reader you can easily get confused as to whose head you're in.

I've gone back and looked through some of my other fave novels and this intimate head-hopping-within-a-scene seems to be unique to the romance genre (yeah, this is my own little non-scientific study of my personal library). Authors of other genres seem to keep their points of view consistent through entire scenes, and more often entire chapters, before they switch to a different character, if they do at all.

Of course there have been volumes written on POV, the do's and don'ts, etc. What about mixing and matching POV throughout a story? I'm tempted to throw caution and convention to the wind and just write and see what I get. As writers, what's your preference? Does it depend on genre? As readers, how is POV handled in your fave novels? What do you like best?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Planning Ahead

This is another blog for all you writers out there. As many of you know, I'm working away on my WIP. I spent time today working on plot and story arc and I'm beginning to think this story may need to be longer than just one book. I think the overall story arc can be extended over several books, while I can focus on different main characters in each book with shorter story arcs for each set of main characters.

So, my question is for any published or unpublished writers out there: should I go ahead and plan this first book with the idea of extending the major story arc into more than one book? Each book will function as a stand alone, but will also work together in the larger story. What is the best way to approach it when writing and then when querying agents? Since I am as yet unpublished, I'm not entirely sure the best way to approach this and plan it out, and if it's too much of a risk to take with my first book.

Any insight, advice, suggestions, comments, etcetera are very welcome!!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Plus Some Other Stuff

Today is father's day and, yes, I know I'm very late posting anything, but we were all out celebrating said Father's Day and now that we're back home and settled in for the night, I finally have time to write something.

First, for those wonderful folks who have been following and commenting on my posts about my writing angst, thank you for your wonderful encouragement! Second, you may be interested to know that I've completed the rewrite from 1st to 3rd person (but I kept a copy of the MS in 1st person, just in case) and added a new first chapter. Now I can finally move on and continue writing the story forward. I have two more days off this week so I anticipate getting a lot of writing done.

Now, on to the Father's Day post. My husband is an awesome father. I could never have asked for better. He has been involved since day one, changing diapers, feeding babies, rocking them to sleep, dealing with loose teeth (I get squeamish about teeth), and everything else from the time they were born until now. He even suffered through the births right by my side and I know it was just as hard or harder for him to watch and not be able to do anything, especially when they were all complicated, painful, and tenuous. I treasure him as a husband and father. I know very well how lucky I am and count my blessings daily.

There are a lot of people today who will say that they have the best father in the world. I'll add my voice to those and say that mine is certainly among the ranks of the best. By way of explanation, my mother has been badly ill in one way or another for over 30 years. She is an extremely high strung, demanding, emotional woman who made life trying for all of us. We loved her, but she was a challenge to deal with on a daily basis and my sister and I have always been conflicted about her, loving her because she was our mother, but feeling bitterness and frustration over her behavior and the way she treated us. As an adult I'm able to understand that her trials and her personality did not mesh and has never been capable of dealing with her lot in life. My heart breaks for her misery, but she is a prickly woman who is difficult to care about.

To his everlasting credit, for as long as I can remember my father has been the steady, quiet rock who held our family together. He never, every complained. He only ever did what needed to be done and what was best for mom and for the family. I admire his strength of character, knowing what fights were important and when to back down (many of the backing down times I couldn't have done myself). He is a remarkably courageous man with the patience of all the saints put together. He has a genius and considered intelligence, and a quiet, gentle demeaner. He is fair and open-minded, curious, and generous. He has never been overly demonstrative, but I never cared. He hugged us when we hugged him, he helped us with homework, he showed encouragement when we needed it. He didn't have to be any other way because he showed us everyday how much he cared by shouldering the lion's share of the burden of caring for our family without a peep of complaint.

Needless to say, I adore my father. I respect and admire him, and most of all I thank him from the bottom of my heart for everything he ever did for us. And he never once asked for thanks. Never. Ever. That's just one more reason why I should thank him.

And because today is Father's Day, I will thank him. Publicly. Right here.

Thanks Dad, for everything. I love you. Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting Past Insecurity and Doubt

So I woke up this morning with a serious case of crippling insecurity about my writing ability. After whining about it on Twitter it appears I'm not the only neurotic writer out there.

It makes me feel better that even successful published writers suffer the same doubts and often suffer the same struggles with their writing process.

Because somewhere in my masochistic subconscious I hold onto this silly fantasy that those same successful published writers sit down and write a perfect polished first draft the first time through and never have to rewrite or edit. On days like today, when I feel like I'm incapable of writing anything "good" and that every word I type sucks, as does the story as a whole, I tend to whip out that little "published-writers-write-perfect-drafts-first-time-out" gem and flail myself with it.

On good days, I know that every writer has to work hard to perfect their manuscripts and they're all as neurotic as I am so I'm in good company. Then I'm able to coach myself with the belief that if there are so many authors out there capable of being published, why not me too?

Logically, I know I can do it, but I think art and neuroses often go hand in hand. So maybe I'll just allow myself the luxury of wallowing for a little while, then I'll mentally slap myself around until I snap out of it.

Either way, I can't NOT write so my only option is to keep at it and convince myself that even if the first draft sucks, that's what revision and editing are make it not suck!

But for today, I'll just keep telling myself: I know I can, I know I can, I know I can, I know I can......

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Taking a Different Tack

I've been writing like gangbusters on my current work in progress, and being very pleased with my progress. However, yesterday it occurred to me that I may need to make a major change.

I've written the story in first person, which I think gives the main character a very strong voice and allows the reader to feel very invested in the story. However, as a writer I'm starting to feel cramped in one person's head. I can only tell the story of what's happening to the main character and reveal the plot as she finds out about it. I'm not able to examine events through the eyes or experiences of any of the other characters.

So I started thinking I may need to revise the story into the third person. I need to be able to reveal some action taking place in locations other than where the main character is, and I need to be able to get inside some of the other characters' heads.

I had an awesome brainstorming session with Hubby last night, who is pretty good with story ideas. It helped to tell the story out loud and rearrange some plot points, examine the action and characters that work and don't work. So today I feel more confident in the story overall, and excited to start the revision.

Thankfully although I'm 21000 words into the story, it's not an insurmountable obstacle. I'll save a copy in first person, just in case, and then begin working on adjusting another copy into third person. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Reading as an Obsessive Binge

Hubby and I had a heated argument the other day. He said I read too much and that I'm abandoning the family when I do.

I, of course, was incensed. How can reading be a bad thing?

But when I thought about it, I realized that in the last couple of weeks I've read 9 or 10 books. Though they weren't necessarily long, 200-400 pages each, I had to admit that I was spending every free waking minute reading. Sometimes even taking books with me into the bathroom because I just didn't want to put them down.

I realized that perhaps I was being a little overzealous, but in my defense I told Hubby that he and the children all behave exactly the same way when they go on video game jags. Sometimes they'll disappear into the basement gaming room for hours on end, only coming up to eat and use the bathroom, then going back to feed the obsession.

I don't go on reading binges as often as I used to, but when I do apparently I take them very seriously. I wasn't even aware that I was hiding in plain sight. So, after I finished the most recent book, I've forced myself to put on the brakes for a while and come up for air, as it were.

It's turned out to be a good thing, too, because I managed to write about 3000 words on my work in progress today. That's a very good thing.

So even though I'd love to pick up yet another book and get lost in it, I'm going to take a breather. I still don't think reading is a bad thing, but I guess doing it in gigantic binge-tastic quantities is probably one of the few vices I have. When the family accuses you of abandoning them for books, it's time to slow it down just a little!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Making Progress

My new writing group met for the first time, and although it's still pretty small I like it that way. We had a good first meeting, getting to know each other and the things we each like to read and write, talking a little about the things we're currently writing. We established a schedule and decided what we'd bring in to share at our next meeting.

Now comes the hard part: sharing. You may scoff, saying that as a writer isn't that the ultimate goal? To share your story with the world? And I would answer, yes, of course, but in it's shiny perfect final-draft form. What I've got (so far) right now is 14000 words of rough first draft. It's scary to let people read my imperfect bare bones draft. It's like those nightmares of being back in high school, naked, and having forgotten your locker combination. Everyone is looking at you and judging you!!!

I know that the only way to make it shiny and perfect is to get input and suggestions. One of the members of the writing group is a university writing professor who also writes and she has some experience with agents and publishing, so it's not like we're a bunch of wannabe basement amateurs writing cheesy, badly spelled fiction. There's real potential here!

Plus after seeing all the other writers coming out of the woodwork on Twitter, I figure if they can all do it, so can I. It's just a little scary sharing for the first time.

Anyway, I've been making good writing progress; between 500 and 1000 words per day this week. I keep trying to look at the story objectively and although I know it's rough, the story and characters are good, and the more I'm able to keep writing, the more confident I am in my ability to succeed.

I'd also like to have one of those widgets on my blog site that shows my running word count, but can't for the life of me find where to snag it and slap it on my blog. So if anyone knows where I can get it, let me know!

Now, off to write!