Lately I've been learning about how to "Blink: The power of thinking without thinking." So far, I have to say it's working.
Hubby and I went to Olive Garden for V-day. Instead of doing my usual "choose item and debate merits of ordering," I chose the first thing I felt like ordering. YUM-O. I wish I knew how many times I've second-guessed my first pick and went on to regret it.
Should I pick something cheaper?
Should I pick something healthier?
Should I pick something that I can share with hubby or one of the kids?
Should I not order anything at all and simply graze off eveyone else's plates?
Of course, even when I settle on an item, after I hear what everyone else orders, I often change my mind again. Last thing I want is to be the person who ordered the most expensive item...or the most unhealthiest.
Not any more.
Granted, I'm not advocating all decisions should be made in the blink of a moment (actually, two seconds), but many can be. Like what menu item to order. When I go with my first choice, I'm pretty much satisfied.
Let me pause for a moment to figure out where I'm going with this ramble. I can't type, eat M&M's with my toddler, and listen to Rush Limbaugh all at the same time.
Okay, so I checked BLINK out from the library a couple days ago. Since I was there, I figured I ought to check out a couple newer fiction releases. So I did. One so happened to be from a best-stelling, award-winning, RWA-speaking romance author. The novel was book five in a series. Since I haven't read any of the previous books, and I can't think of any other book of this author's that I've read, I'll say right up front: Any opinions I express are solely focused on this one particular book only.
In the novel (maybe 45K words), the author used the POVs of the heroines in the four previous books in the series. However, the first chapter was completely written in omiscient POV because all four previous heroines are in the scene. My guess is the author didn't want to settle on a POV in the scene so the readers wouldn't assume the main character was one of them.
Next chapter/next scene was in the heroine's POV.
Next chapter/scene was the hero's.
As the story progressed, in between the two lead characters' POVs, the author interjected the pov of one of the four pervious novel heroines. Since I hadn't read the other books, I didn't care about these women and their troubles. My guess is the reader who has enjoyed another glimpse into the live of the heroine she came to love. Plus most of the sexual interactions were between these past heroines and their husbands.
I can only conclude that since the plot was so simple and the characters so many, the author counted on the sexual content to sell her book. Why? Because cut those pages out, and the novel would be half as long. Umm, hold on a sec.
Okay, I'm back. Took more than a few seconds, but I had to order some books from Barnes and Noble. Back to my rambling...
But the opening ominsicent pov and multiple povs throughout the story weren't the most annoying this. Far too many times the author stopped the present-moment action of the scene to explain something to the reader. Examples include what happened in pervious novels, information about the lead character's past, or what the character was going to do the next day. In many ways the novel reminded me of contest entries that tend to score with 4s and 3s. Or maybe with enough points to final yet the editor never requests a full.
Sometimes I serious considering taking a published author's first 25 pages (this novel would be a perfect one to use) and entering it in a contest under an anonymous name. Not sure how to get away with this without dire consequences. Well, maybe I'd have a non-writer friend do the entering. Change the title and the names of the lead character, and it could work.
Okay, okay, okay, I'd never do it. I just enjoy the pondering of it.
Now if I had to use this particular romance as an example of the quality of this author's writing, I'd say her writing is average. Nothing exceptional. Certainly not award-worthy. My guess is who the author was in her pre-published-author life and the heat level of her first story are what sold her intitial piece of work. Of course, could be that her first novel was much better written than this piece of drival. Or is it drivil? Or drivel?
I'm in no mood to spell-check today.
Anyhoo, in the RWA e-notes was an article on Point of View. It's too good not to share.
Point of View
By Jeannie Eddy
Recently, I've been helping a couple of authors edit their stories, and I've been seeing a lot of head hopping. Not that it's all bad, mind you, but when a writer does it every few sentences, I find it a bit discomfiting. When you're writing a story and you want your reader to identify with the character you've created, it's important for them to be in the character's head, and to know whose point of view (POV) you're sharing.
There are several different points of view you can use when writing. Let's name the most common in fiction:
First person: When you're writing a story from the personal perspective of the main character, you are in first person. For example, Jim Butcher tells the Dresden stories from the point of view of Harry Dresden, Chicago's only wizard listed in the phone book. In the first book, Storm Front, Butcher writes, "I heard the mailman approach my office door...He whistled his way to my office door, then fell silent for a moment. Then he laughed."
Third person: In third person, the narrator reveals the main character's thoughts and feelings. J.K. Rowling used third person point of view in the Harry Potter books: "Harry lay in his dark cupboard much later, wishing he had a watch."
Omniscient: When you know everything about every character in the story and you tell the reader about each of them, you are using the omniscient point of view. Anna Karenina is one such book, from its very famous first sentence: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
Multiple POVs: When the narrator changes from one point of view to another in a story, employing multiple perspectives to tell that story, the narrator is using multiple points of view. A lot of books use this technique, so you can find any number of examples around you. One common use of multiple points of view is to switch from one character's point of view to another with each new chapter.
If you want to decide the best point of view for your novel, try writing your scene in all of these POVs and see which one resonates with you. That will be the one you need to use, so you can write the story of your heart. Here are some Web sites that might help:
OF course, I can't leave it at that. One of my favorite craft of writing books is CHARACTERS & VIEWPOINT by Orson Scott Card.
And if you own it, read it again.