Tag Archives: pov

Writer Beware–POV Confusion/Character Overload by Juliet Waldron

I recently reviewed a book by first time indie author, a gifted natural story-teller. Her book centered upon a long-ago tragedy in a small, tight-knit backwoods town.  I found the story difficult to follow, because of frequent POV shifts, sometimes as often as every few paragraphs. There is usually a double drop between these shifts, but she also had a habit of changing voice. Sometimes the new POV is first person, sometimes third. Occasionally, I found myself stumbling from first person to third person subjective, or yanked straight out of the story by bursts of the venerable 18th Century third person omnipresent. Many of her narrators are unreliable, as well, and there are many, many characters, almost an entire town, but few of them are well fleshed out. However, each one, Rashomon-like, has a unique piece of information about the pivotal event.

As compelling as the idea was, I’d have to say thumbs down. Unfortunately, her tale is both interesting and important—and probably still inflammatory in some quarters. Local people no doubt remember with horrible clarity where they were on the day when a labor dispute went terribly wrong and police waded into strikers, killing one of them.

Elaborate Point of View shifts are tricky business even in the hands of more far more skillful writers. If I’d been her editor, I know we could have worked it out, but she clearly had problems making a choice about who her main characters were to be. Although it might have created new difficulties in telling the story, the loss of focus that resulted from all that switching around made my job as a reader far harder than an author has a right to ask.

My diagnosis is that the story hadn’t jelled when she began to write. In her rush to get the inspiration down, to cover all the bases, she created a huge maze of information and very nearly couldn’t unravel it. A novel, (which is, after all, an artificial creation and not reality) needs a core character(s) and a core point of view.  This gives the reader a place to stand among whatever whirligigs of narrative and event the author can contrive.

So, if you are thinking of finally writing “that book,” decide who/what/where/when before you get going. Laying the groundwork, pouring the foundation, you might say, is the place where a writer truly has to start. Find the eyes you want to see events through, and please don’t, for the reader’s sake, use too many pairs!

http://www.julietwaldron.com

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POW!

Claire Collins is the author of  ‘Fate and Destiny’ and ‘Images of Betrayal’

 

As authors, sometimes it seems as though we have our own language. We discuss items such as POV (point of view), show vs. tell, dialogue tags, hooks, and an endless list of writerly terms.

 

Sometimes, we even confuse ourselves. Here is a snippet of a conversation several of our authors recently had.

 

Writer A: It started with that “Pow”, about three pages of “pow” at that, and then had 100 pages of drivel and boring characters.. .yeah, 100 pages before I gave up.

 

Writer B: That is to say that I’ve yet to start one with that “pow”. To me personally as a reader and writer, that’s not that important to me, but I have found myself moving that “pow” forward in the story.

 

Writer A: And the “pow” doesn’t have to be a spectacular fight scene or sex on the beach or anything else that might be put in there for shock value so the reader will continue to read. Sometimes, all it takes to wow
someone with a “pow” is a clever turn of phrase or a universal question to which they want the answer.

 

Writer C: Help me out here ladies.. I know POV but haven’t heard POW, well
prisoner of war, but I don’t think that applies here.

 

Writer D: Pow,, as in impact. momentum. It took me awhile too because it was capitalized lol!

 

Writer A: That’s why I put it in quotes and made the reference to the old Batman series. You know, when they flashed the words “pow” and such to convey impact, usually a fist to a face, as in a fight.

 

Writer D: You know, we are all dropped into all of the jargon so much that it makes our heads spin. At times, we forget what normal words like POW really are!
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Writer A: Sometimes I just forget myself. I never even thought that anyone would misinterpret the word “pow” for an acronym like POV. Must remember not to post these things so early in the morning before the brain is caffeine-induced. On further thought, I realize that I should’ve covered my blunder by making up an acronym. Maybe I should’ve said it stood for something like “Powerful Optical Writing.” Anyone else care to take a crack at it?

 

 

So we did, and this is the list we came up with:

 

Powerfully Observant Witticisms

Push Over Writers

Pull Out Whips

Prolifically Over Written

Please Offer Words

Praise Often Warranted

Promising Optimistic Wisdom

Potentially Oscar Worthy

Probably Often Wrong

Positively Outlaw Whining

 

Our male publisher spouted off with “Wait a minute–you mean is doesn’t stand for “Power of Women?”

 

To which the reply was… “… you come face to face with POW–the Power of Women and then go off in a corner no one cares about so long as it is no where near us and POW–Pout or Whine. We simply use POW, the Power of Wisdom, and close and lock the door…

 

So, what kind of POW can you come up with?

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