I was so excited when romance writer Vonnie Davis volunteered to guest blog on Whispers, even more excited when she told me her topic: achieving deep POV. WELCOME to my guest, and Happy Halloween to everyone!
After reading her post, please visit Vonnie's blogand website.
UPDATE: Vonnie has recently signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press to publish her romance novel! Congratulations to Vonnie. Also, her husband, Calvin Davis, has a book coming out in December from Second Wind Publishing.
How thrilled I am to be guest blogging at Rhiannon’s place today. We are both represented by the same literary agent. Today, I’m going to discuss point of view.
What is point of view (POV)? POV is the vehicle your reader uses to travel through the story.
Our goals, as a writer, are twofold. First, we want to tell a good story. Second, we want to draw the reader into the head of our POV character. We want our reader to experience everything our character is seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, thinking, smelling and feeling.
To draw the reader into our story, we want to avoid using “she heard” or “she saw” or “she thought.” These phrases distance the reader from the character and are not needed. Here’s a short example:
“Jason saw his parents watching as he pulled out of the driveway for his first solo drive to the mall. For the first time in his life he felt free.”
If we are in Jason’s POV, the phrase “he felt” or “he saw” are not needed. See how this change really puts us in his head –
“Jason pulled out of the driveway for his first solo drive to the mall. Leaving his parents behind was liberating. What a feeling of freedom. Awesome didn’t begin to describe it.”
Now we can feel his excitement. We can almost visualize his smile. And by being in his head, sharing his experience, we can mentally stop and think, yeah, I remember my first time doing that, too. I know exactly how he feels.
Let’s move on to deep POV. In deep POV, we show the reader why. Why does our POV character behave this way? React this way? Think this way? Why does a woman tense in a certain social situation? Why does our male character distrust women? Why is our character afraid of the dark? Why does our teenager hate family social functions?
We all have a history. Our history helps shape our behavior and thoughts. If you’ve taken the time to develop your characters, then you know their history. You know why they behave and react a certain way. In bits and dribbles, you share this with your readers.
Christy, our POV character, reacts a certain way around men. By using deep POV, we are in her head and learn why.
“No, I won’t go to the dance with you.” Christy wiped damp hands on her jeans. Jason was nice enough, but he’d want to put his hands on her and hold her close. Then he might act like her uncle did when she was fourteen, breathing heavy in her ear, sliding his hand over her bottom and pulling her close—too tight to escape. Her breathing was rapid and her heart beating loud enough that Jason could probably hear it. No, she’d not go out with him.
Now we know why. With a few well-crafted sentences, you can help your readers understand and sympathize. They will be in her corner, hoping she can overcome her fears. You have drawn them into her head and her history. This is the power of deep POV.
Thanks so much, Vonnie, for your post and the insightful examples.
I had the pleasure of talking to paranormal fiction author Kay Nichols about writing and her newly released novel, SOULS.
After reading the interview, please check out her debut novel, SOULS, here.
Hi, Kay! Tell us a little about yourself.
There's not much to tell, really. I write about excitement but have very little of it in my own life. I work full time and writing is a part-time passion that I would love to someday become my full-time passion. I read. A LOT! I read books, news, magazines. Just about anything I can get my hands on. I enjoy spending time with my girlfriends in an attempt to keep life from getting too serious!
What exactly is paranormal fiction, and why did you decide to write it?
Paranormal, or abnormal, fiction would be stories that step outside the realm of everyday life and into a world full of mystery and inexplicable experiences. Most people associate the paranormal with ghost stories. While ghost stories are included in the genre of paranormal fiction, they are not the sole topic covered. Paranormal fiction could be ghosts, werewolves, vampires, or something entirely new born in the mind of a writer.
I love paranormal fiction for the main reason that my imagination is never constricted. I am not bound my the laws of reason or physics. The paranormal allows my creativity to take over and run wild.
Your first book, SOULS, was recently published. Tell us a little about it.
Souls was an adventure in spiritual exploration. It is easy to write a ghost story - decidedly fun, but easy. I wanted to take the traditional beliefs on the paranormal and religion, twist them around each other and see what the end result was.
The human as a whole is created by three separate parts: the mind, the body, and the soul. These three components work together in an individual's life to help them become who they are meant to be and what they are meant to accomplish. Essentially, every person has a destiny and that destiny requires their mind, body, and soul to complete the journey of life. Souls delves into what happens to an individual when they stray from their destiny and the three components of existence are no longer in harmony: the soul continues forward, but the physical being is no longer on the right path, leaving the soul lost and alone in a physical world. The main character, Jane Meyer, is one of the rare people gifted with the ability to see and help these lost souls.
Souls is written during two time frames simultaneously: Jane's experience with her first soul and her experience with her last soul. Jane is faced with the reality that her destiny is not hers to determine. Unfortunately, helping lost souls comes at an incredibly high price - one Jane is not sure she is willing to pay. Jane enters into a world beyond our world; full of souls, hunters, and death - and she will be lucky to survive with her life and soul.
Have you considered writing any other genre or does your heart belong to the paranormal?
I once read somewhere to write what you know and write what you love. I have a passion for the unknown. Will this be my only genre? Probably. But I can't say that with 100% certainty. I write what comes into my head. So far, my imagination has been drawn to the paranormal. But that doesn't mean there isn't a love story in there somewhere!
Do you have any other books coming out in the near future? If so, when can we expect the next one?
I currently have a trilogy awaiting release. The first in the series will be available for purchase by Winter 2011 with the second and third books to follow shortly after. This series follows the adventures and misadventures of a paranormal investigation team. This trilogy follows the more conventional "rules" of paranormal fiction. It's like the show Ghost Hunters with more sensationalism and more paranormal encounters. And, of course, the trilogy is purely fictional!
If you enjoyed this interview, be sure to check out SOULS, available in paperback or ebook download, here.
Confidence can be a dangerous thing, especially when you're a writer. As many books as I have read and enjoyed, there are that many more that I have started and never finished because they were that bad. Each time this happens I think, if this person can get published so can I!
You see, the publishing industry reminds me of that money pie politicians often evoke. The theory goes something like this:
There is a pie. The pie represents all the money. There are only eight slices available. Seven of the slices are eaten (spent) by hungry rich people. That leaves just one slice of the pie (wealth) available for the remaining 98%. Since one slice is not enough to feed everyone, some of that 98% simply do without--not because they aren't deserving of a bite, there just isn't enough to go around.
I'm not an economy expert, so I don't know if this is truly how the economy works, but this is how publishing works. Seven slices of the publishing pie goes to celebrity writers, best sellers, household names, and already established authors. The remaining slice is all that's available for the rest of the newbies or relatively unknowns. Due to the lack of pie, pubs are that much more selective when deciding who gets a piece and who doesn't. Not unlike the money pie theory, there will be those who get a share even though they don't deserve it, which sucks for those who do.
I remind myself of this often. Earning something or deserving something does not automatically entitle me to anything. There are no guarantees. I know that when/if I am offered a contract, luck will have as much to do with it as my skill, hard work, and determination did. So while I am confident in my abilities, that confidence cannot overshadow realism, because nothing will end a writing career faster than frustration or bitterness.
I have a fear of book trailers. The idea of creating one for my book is appealing, and I imagine the process would be a lot of fun. Yay, creativity! But I worry. What if the trailer is better than my book? I think of how many times I've seen previews for movies and thought ohhhhhhhhhhhh, I GOTTA see that one, only to be disappointed later. I don't want to be responsible for that kind of let down.
Then again, it would be stupid to create a trailer that stinks, because who would want to buy the book? The point of the trailer is to entice someone, not slip them into a boredom-induced coma.
I guess the better question is do trailers (even good ones) sell books? I personally have never bought a book because of a trailer. Matter of fact, I never paid much attention to book trailers before becoming a writer. Did I even know they existed? Does anyone, other than the writers who use them, care about trailers?
Let's think about this...
You're a reader. You want a good book. You visit your favorite book seller. You find a book. You examine the title, cover, price, description, maybe even read the first couple pages, but you are still undecided on this particular book. Or, worse yet, you do not like this particular book.
Suddenly, the lights dim. Music plays. Actors appear, and they act out the very description you just read for the book in your hand! You cannot believe the magical performance taking place before your very eyes!
But the price is still $16.99. It's still a romance and you wanted a thriller. And the cover is still lavender--you hate lavender! The trailer changed nothing about the book, but did it change your mind?
I'm thinking book trailers don't sell books, but I might make one, anyway. In case I'm wrong :)