These last few weeks have been educational.
Fleshing out my characters, making sure my characters are staying in character, and being consistent with Point Of View so readers won’t get confused!
Point of view. The inconsistency seems to rear its ugly head often in my stories. I was writing Omnipotent. God-View. I could get inside anyone’s head and read their thoughts.
My editor suggested the idea of using one character’s POV within each chapter or scene. I balked at this, screaming inwardly that I was the author and I wanted to let the reader know what people thought. I mean, some of my favourite phrases were the sarcastic thoughts in the heads of the characters.
Fortunately, I have a very good editor and I have faith in her.
My challenge was to rewrite one specific chapter from the heroine’s point of view.
At first, it was very difficult to even imagine. The biggest challenge was the opening scene. I’d always envisioned it beginning from the hero’s POV. The heroine wasn’t aware of what he saw/did/heard/thought at the beginning of this chapter. Unfortunately, the rest of the chapter was mostly from her POV, with a few interruptions within scenes of his thoughts or silent observations. Bad writing, Peggy. Don’t get me wrong. God-view is great, but it isn’t popular in this genre or market. Knowing everything too soon ruins the suspense.
I worked on this in my head for days trying to portray the feeling for the same start of the chapter from her POV. At physio every day, on the stationary bike, fifteen minutes of peddling with my eyes closed, trying to see what she saw. Trying not to see what only he did. Sitting in front of the computer, writing something, deleting it. Playing Solitaire to clear my mind. On day five, it clicked—yes, I was on the bike! The scene dissolved into her mind, what she was going through at that moment. I moved those hidden thoughts of his into actions or words the she could see or hear, taking them out altogether if I couldn’t. The rest of the chapter fell into place.
Clever characters. They always come to the fore for me!
I’ve got to get this mastered because the other books are rife with toggled POVs within the chapters. The hardest part? Trying to determine which character to use! The first book is basically about two characters. Book Two adds another main character. Book Three, yet another. They don’t replace the hero/heroine but become a close second.
It’s like Star Wars. Many main characters, protagonists, antagonists. It would be hard to say which is THE main protagonist…Luke, Leia, or Han, and which is THE main antagonist…Darth Vader or The Emperor. But look at all the secondary characters who are critical to the storyline. C3PO, R2D2, Lando, Obi-Wan, Yoda, and whoever wasn’t your choice for the main characters!
So I have to adopt a point of view style that will best portray my characters and stories, and keep the reader turning those pages.