Tuesday, January 12, 2016

POV - One or More

A while ago, I decided to read over my first NaNoWriMo success. I like to read the rough drafts on occasion to remember how it went and see how I feel about the overall results. It's not fantasy but it's the first novel attempt of mine that made it to 50k. Have to admit, it's rough. Since written during NaNoWriMo, that is expected but it's also from 2008. I have written so many words since then, it's crazy (such as the 180k novel first draft). However, I happened to notice something in the novel that I have been asked about in the past on a writing web site and that deals with having more than one character POV in a single scene.

I did not do it well in that first draft partly because I wasn't trying to change point of view on a conscious level. Instead, I had random bits of information that were not from the main POV character's perspective simply because I was new at writing and trying to get the story down on paper/word. Which is fine in a first draft but later requires finding ways rewrite and edit the thing so that those don't exist anymore because it's a one POV novel. Ah the fun of rewrites and edits.

While I'm going to edit out my little slips, it is possible to do novels with more than one point of view and in fact, I have a few that are two or more. So, let's talk about those. In the past, the omniscient point of view was popular and came in handy because it meant the reader could see the thoughts of different characters without sticking to one for too long even though one may have been the main focus a good part of the time. However, the popularity has decrease and far more common now is limited point of view approaches. But to the actual question: Can you use different POV in one scene?

Possible, but there are variables to consider. And note, all recommendations will be general and on there are times when someone will be able to do something I say not to and that's just fine. If you can make the difficult work then go right ahead and do you.

1. Are you writing first person POV?
If this is the case, it is not recommended to have different pov in one scene or even one chapter. If doing a short story with multiple first person pov, know it will be hard work and some readers won't like how much you'll have to jump around to get all of the views involved. And if going that route, at least try to have some way to indicate when the POV changes (even if not short story or first person narration). There needs to be enough space, asterisks, or something to give the reader a heads up that there is a change occurring, especially in first person because it is difficult to tell the different voices apart when every POV is "I". For novels, separate chapters works better though one I read had a boy and a girl POV and the boy sounded like a girl part of the time, so know it's not easy even if separating by chapters. But that's more for a topic on voice and such, not just point of view.

2. Are you writing third person POV?
Then it might be a little easier for you to do more than one point of view, dependent on how deep you go in the pov as this can get closer to the omniscient level a little. This is easier in part because people will get less confused even when there is a change in pov because it's more obvious when it's a different character. There are names involved and don't have the whole "I did this" type of situation. However, I still don't recommend just jumping between characters when it comes to a scene. It's possible to do and some people will do it very well, but many readers also complain about those stories because the jumps start to feel accidental and amateur like when done with less indication for the reader. Part of the success will come in the writing and in having ways to show the change so that it doesn't have that random, not on purpose feeling. Other parts will just be in taking the risk and having it be needed for the story.

When a scene has jumps in POV with no space or warning, it's easy for the reader to get confused. They might struggle to keep up and if the characters are in different situations/locations, the fast change will cause a sort of reading stumble, like a foot hitting a curb the person didn't notice was there. That's why having the space or separating helps, because it lets the reader know there is a change. And it's worse if the jump is short term and goes through a couple of characters all within the same scene. That, in particular, is where it looks more accidental even when we know stories are edited and such.

Plus, what we might think important to convey may not be as needed after all. I read one story where the two main character pov were fine and often split by chapters though even when it changed during a chapter it wasn't too hard to tell. However, the very beginning of the novel had a couple random moments where it slipped into the best friend's pov and I did not care for that at all. Sure, I could see the author was trying to show us something about the main female character by adding in the thoughts of the friend, but it really wasn't needed and just pushed it into head hopping territory instead of helping set the situation up for what was going to happen.

Which brings us to the end and my main point if you made it past my rambling. While doing different viewpoints can come in handy, we also have to consider who might read it (including ourselves cause I read my own and don't like the head hopping I did back then). Jump around too much and you'll get the "head hopping" situation, which is often frowned upon because the confusion it causes and the fact it jumps without much warning. Fantasy is great for having more than one viewpoint in a story but even the big name authors will limit in the beginning and will write in a way that shows a change is about to occur when they do switch. So, don't be afraid to do different points of view, but also remember to give the readers something to indicate the change. That way you can have the best of both worlds.

So what are your thoughts and experiences with varying points of views in stories?
Do you write more than one point of view in a scene?
What are some good examples of times where it worked for you (reading or writing)?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

It Approaches... aka NaNoWriMo

That is right. After a long silence I'm going to talk about the first thing that comes to mind and right now, with it being already October 8th, the thing I'm focused on is getting ready for NaNoWriMo.

Yep, I'm doing it again this year. Last year was one of my not successful years but I don't have any qualms or regrets about taking part in it or any of the camp ones where I didn't write much. Even not making it to 50k (or in camp whatever goal was chosen) is still an accomplishment if something gets written.

Whether to prepare ahead of time or not is going to be a personal decision. It did help me the first year that I succeeded in getting 50,000 words. However, since then I have both prepped novels and written ones with no prep. Either way can go well and the end result tends to vary on the novel. Some are easier to write than others. I'm prepping this year but not as ahead of schedule as I've been in the past but still making progress. Although I'm finding I don't know much about this story yet. We'll see if that's the case when writing time comes too. Either way, I'll be writing.

One thing I need to work on as we get closer to November is going to be a schedule. I have a lot going on in general, plus will be gone for 6 whole days as my stepsister is getting married and I'm driving out to attend the wedding plus spending a day with family in a different state. I won't have much writing time at all from the 3rd through the 6th. So, I won't be trying to get 50k in 10 days or less this year. In fact, my normal beginning push and end of month slow down will need to be reversed. I will have work at least 5 days a week and the hours will either be closing or middle of day shifts, but not sure at this time. Plus, I have the gym though I will be running a little less by then since after the 10k the goal is just to maintain until spring, when I start training for the half marathon. The last few months, I have struggled to keep up with things, like blogging, and am slowly working on  regaining my ground. Hope to keep it forward so that by 2016, things run smoother.

I do have some suggestions, however, when it comes to November's writing and the results of the excursion. I could talk a lot about tips for during and before NaNoWriMo but we'll keep it to a few things for now.

A couple of things I don't recommend during and after NaNoWriMo:

1. Sending out to publishers or agents right after November ends, or with that novel a few months later. While it's exciting to have a novel written, there is much left to be done and the first is to take a little time away from the story. Plus, many agents and editors are closed to submission over the holidays.

2. Publishing right after November or a mere few months later. I'm not against self publishing and if that's what you want to do then great. However, I do recommend taking a little time between drafts and doing more than one draft of the story before putting it out for the waiting audience. Unless that is your already established protocol of doing very fast drafts and putting it out there where you have a readership that supports such, I just don't recommend it.

3. Fretting over word count often. I have seen a few spend almost more time worrying about how behind they've gotten than actually writing. Don't put too much into panic or talking about how you should be writing. Or posting too much in forums when you have 10,000 words to catch up on. Plus, even if you only write 5,000 for the whole month (I might have made close to that my very first attempt), it's still more than you had October 31. Whether you take a month or three years to finish a novel, doesn't matter. Just write.

4. Ignoring everything for the sake of the novel. Perspective and balance are still good to have during November. Sure, the house can be a little messier and meals take less labor, but it's also not good to completely ignore everyone or skip out on responsibilities just for the sake of getting to 50,000 words. Write, yes, but don't ignore the rest of your life entirely.

Those are just some general pointers. I know not everyone is a fan of the national novel writing month with the quick writing and rough draft results. For me, it works and helps me focus on a single story for exactly one month. Now I'm going to get back to preparing for it and write a few scenes/stories on the side because I multi-task and over commit.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for Zealous

Made it to the end of the challenge with a similar Z word for both of my blogs. It was tough this year for some reason even though I've done A to Z for the past few years. I hope to do next year as well but we'll see how things go. For now, I'm glad to be at the end as I have editing to do.

Link: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-to-z-challenge-sign-uplist-2015.html


It helps to have zeal towards the novel when editing because it's hard to push through the tough work, especially for me the first time around. The first draft of my first novel was really hard. Then trying to figure out how to do the first rewrite and now that scary last edit. Every stage has its own difficulties. I keep working on it because I am zealous about the story and the series. I still want to see it grow and I want to give it a try at the publishing world.

Even though editing is work and it doesn't have the same fun that just writing can hold for me, through zealous drive, and just making myself work on it, this will get done. In June look for a post on submitting to agents because that is what I will be doing. :-)

Are you Zealous about your novel? Does it help drive you in the editing process?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for Years

I'm a tad late on this one. These last letters are hard with the editing topic but I am going to make it to the end. Check out the other blogs over in the A to Z Challenge.

Why years? Well, because that is how long it has taken me to reach this final edit stage and I've been trying to do the edit for over a year now, though didn't actually spend that whole time doing any of it.

One of the good parts about not having a first book out yet, or having any publishing contracts is that you can take your time. No one is waiting at this stage and you can jump between different novel projects, try out all kinds of genres and take as long as you need.

However, the downside is you can take years in order to finish something. I'm better if I have deadlines and without them I meander and spend too much time on the Internet when I should be working. I don't do well if I go by the mood striking me on even first drafts. I need to decide to do something and just get it down within a time frame.

So, this novel has taken years (started first draft in 2007) but I'm not going to let this edit take up more years. Tomorrow, I get some stuff done.

How many years do you take on different drafts and editing?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X is for Xerox

Oh the dreaded X day. I did have to do some online searching and managed to learn a few words not relevant to editing. Lots of medical, geology and fear related words. Go to the A to Z Challenge in order to see what X word other bloggers picked.

After searching, it hit me when I saw the word on the list, aha!


Photocopy may not seem like an editing term because it's an exact copy/replica of whatever is used, but that does bring up the questions: Which copy are you working on? Where do you save your copies? Do you print out and do a hard copy edit?

Right now, I don't do hard copies of my stories because aside from the cost of ink, there is the fact I don't have a sufficient printer. The library here costs 10 cents a page and I haven't looked into the costs of getting copies made anywhere else. So, at this point all of my edits are done on the computer.

However, when I'm editing I do make copies chapter by chapter within Scrivener (my writing program of choice) because I want to keep the  old version just in case something happens and I make a very big mistake. I also try to get a copy of a draft on Word and save it to a couple locations, including an external and now I have a flashdrive too. It's good to have numerous copies when possible.

I do the new copy for most edits and rewrites, however, for the last one, I am not doing a xerox or extra copy. I am using the draft that I worked on last time, which involved editing a few things. I"m hoping it's the last copy for now, because I will be sending out the story but I also hope that it's not the last overall because edits are necessary when publishing. Anyways, that's my X topic: Xerox and a couple types of copies that relate to editing.

How many copies do you have? Do you make a new copy for each edit?

Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Weak Words

Near the end of the editing topic month, although not the end of the actual edits. There aren't many days left, so make sure to check out the other blogs still poster over in the A to Z challenge.

I talked a little bit about this in other posts, like J where I focused in particular on the word Just, but it is one that bears repeating because it's something I often have to edit out during a few different rounds of editing. Those pesky, not as useful as I first think in rough draft writing, weak words.

We want our writing to be strong and to hold the interest of the reader, but in first draft the whole point is to just some how get those words onto the page. Which can mean later, in edits there is a lot of muck to deal with in order to take the lump of clay and make it something presentable. Weak words have a use at times, much like everything else (even adverbs) but they also can hold back a story and lesson the readers experience.

I know for me, there are weak words I  use far too often. These include: just, almost, vague uses/descriptions/etc, multiple prepositions, and then, redundancies, something and many more.

I mean, sure it's okay to use them at times. There are instances where it makes sense to say the character almost fell. However, when  it happens too often then it just becomes boring and even I tell myself, "either make them fall or don't mention it" when that shows up a few times in a story. Or in edits I pick between "and" and "then" because most of the time they both don't need to be there together.

It's a constant struggle, determining what words are weak and not necessary in the story and how to make them better.


What weak words do you use often? Do you take out weak words when editing?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Verb

Another grammar day here on Dawn Embers blog and part of the A to Z challenge. We're near the end and I must admit, it will be nice to get back to a regular, few posts a month, schedule in May. Though I also plan to jump around to others blogs to comment on them during May as that part I didn't quite keep up with well this time around. Make sure you check out some of the other blogs here.


Definition: any member of a class of words that function as the main elements of predicates, that typically express action, state, or a relation between two things, and that may be inflected for tense, aspect, voice, mood, and to show agreement with their subject or object. (source = dictionary.com)

All verbs are not created equal, however. Often times, the ones I need to edit out the most that I'm sure others might too, are the ones that show a general state of being. Yep, the "be" verb commonly known as "is" "was" and "will be". Okay, maybe not "will be" often because who writes in future tense? Not that they don't come in handy at times, but it's easy to overuse the "be" verb along with the adding of -ing to verbs. That's something else I also work on in edits, the number of times the action has the -ing added to it.


What are your favorite verbs? Do you have enough action in your sentences?