I had a question about POVs. For your newest book you switched back and forth between Hugh and Elara, but you have general only stuck with one point of view for the Kate Daniels, Innkeeper and Hidden Legacy books/series. I was wondering the reasoning behind your choices to either switch between POVs or stay with a single POV for a novel/series. Also in regards to the Curran POVs you have posted on this blog in the past, where those written after their corresponding books were written (as awesome gems for us readers to enjoy), or did you write them as you were writing the rest the book as a writing exercise or to flush out the scene(s) in your head?
Warning: don’t take any of this as writing gospel.
Single or multiple POV.
In general, when the narrative is in first person, “I said, I did, I chopped his head off” etc, we stick to a single point of view. There are two reasons for this. One, there is very little distance between the reader and the character in first person POV. You are right there, in the character’s head, you see through their eyes, hear through their ears, etc. You can do this in a tight third person as well, but there is usually more distance.
A pit had opened in my stomach. I tasted acid on my tongue and swallowed it back down. Hot tears wet my cheeks, burning the skin. It was as if I had been poisoned and my body was desperately trying to expel it.
A pit had opened in her stomach. She tasted acid on her tongue and swallowed it back down. Hot tears wet her cheeks, burning the skin. It was as if she had been poisoned and her body was desperately trying to expel it.
When you drop the reader that deep into someone’s head, they are reluctant to jump into another character. It’s jarring. The more distance is between the reader and the character, the easier it is to head-hop. Omniscient is the easiest for the multiple POV’s which is why it’s frequently used for epic fantasy.
Two, when we write in first person, the character is typically solving a mystery. If we were to drop into bad guy’s POV, for example, it would no longer be a whodunit, but a police procedural. In a whodunit, we don’t know the identity of the perpetrator, and the story is driven forward in part by that mystery. In a police procedural, we know who had done the deed, and the story is driven by the chase and the struggle as the investigators get closer and closer while antagonist is actively trying to elude them.
We don’t do writing exercises.
Either we sit down and write a story, or we don’t. Sometimes the stories go nowhere and have to be abandoned, but when we are working on something, it’s always to achieve a narrative arc. We never sit down with the idea of working on something we don’t intend to reach an audience. Writing exercises, character background files, and elaborate outlines are not the copy. Only copy is copy. Most of the times these things are used to postpone the actual writing. To quote Yoda: do or do not.
That said, to each their own. If you want to do writing exercises, do them. There is only one rule in writing: do whatever works to get to the end.
As to Curran POVs, they were mostly written because the readers bugged Gordon. There is really no rhyme or reason to them. 🙂