Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Switching POVs

Okay, so all I needed was some tough love - thanks for the kick in the pants, Kristen.  Once I got my gumption hump in gear, I managed to turn out 2300 words in this endeavor.

So, what's that got to do with anything, you ask.  Well, I've said before that this book has been trying to get me to write it in first POV since the beginning, but I didn't feel confident in my ability to do it.  So far, everything I've finished has been either third omniscient or third limited.  First was outside my comfort zone.  Or so I thought. 

Anyway, I wrote the entirety of DLN in third limited.  You see everything from Jo's point of view, but it's like someone else is reporting things through her eyes.  Not always the easiest way to write - considering that every sentence I have to think whether she would actually know what I wrote.  I mean, if Jo can't sense it in some way, it shouldn't be in the book, right?

Shifting from third limited to first shouldn't be all that hard.  Of course, it isn't like Daughter assumed - which was that all I have to do is change all the pronouns.  Changing 'Jo sidled along the wall' to 'I sidled along the wall' doesn't quite work.  I had to consider whether Jo would actually use the word 'sidle' when thinking about her own movements.  She might think someone else would sidle, but it was out of character for her to think that about herself. 

Aside from that, though, the process of switching to first POV has been really freeing.  For a couple hours last night, I had to be Josephine Mayweather.  I had to see things from her eyes, and remember things as she remembered them.  What fun!  Nothing like slipping into the persona of a supernatural being to get the old heart pumping. 

I still don't know how I'm going to handle those few flashback scenes.  I might still write them in third - showing the reader how the character feels distances from her own past, or in one case, letting the MC listen as another character relates his own distant past.  Or I may cut those scenes altogether.  We'll see what happens when we get there.

So far, though, this seems like it's working.  And from what Daughter said after I made her read the first few pages, my feelings on the subject are correct.  She gave me two thumbs-up, after all, and being the paranormal junkie she is, I'm taking that as a positive sign I'm on the right track.

Wish me luck.

How are things going with your writing?


  1. I kind of like the idea of having flashbacks in third. Interesting concept. =)
    I've never switched a story from first to third or vice versa. It seems like such a daunting task. Good luck!

  2. Finished my read through and am now working on typing in the changes. Hope to be done Friday.

  3. First of all, congrats on returning to your novel, 2,500 words WOW!

    It was good to read that you are aware the author must become the character they are writing about, if they want to pull off first person POV. However, I must agree with Quixotic, switching from first to third person in a novel is extremely difficult. If it is not done correctly, you will find yourself sinking in quicksand.

    Perhaps you should read “The Eight” by Katherine Neville. She switches POV’s quite effectively and it added a lot to the story.
    Also, in my experience, flashbacks are very difficult to do right. My mother-in-law, who happens to have her master's in English lit and taught for thirty years, read the first draft of a chapter in my novel that contained a flashback. I'll never forget the frustration I felt when she told me she could not tell when I was switching times. Two-months and three re-writes later, she finally gave me the "green light" to move forward.

    Although I learned a lot from the experience, the journey was still pretty tough. Since my novel is written in omniscient POV, I kept the flashbacks in the same voice. It seemed to work for me.

    As for my writing this month, unfortunately, I have not worked on my novel for almost two weeks, which BTW is unheard of for me. The holidays have really kept me hopping. I'm also trying to finish up an article I'm writing for a local magazine. I don't know what I was thinking when I agreed to that project. I miss my book and all of its characters. Hopefully, the article will be completed by this weekend so I can return to my novel. Good luck with your writing.

    Happy holidays