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Posts tagged ‘POV’

First Monday Mentoring, ask your burning question here

Half-way through the year already, where did the time go? The first Monday of every month (or the first Sunday if you’re in the northern hemisphere) is when I invite you to post your writing-related questions and I’ll  answer them here. Lots of talented writers read and comment on this blog and you’re also welcome to contribute your thoughts on an answer, or share a writing experience that might help others.

 Questions can be posted ahead of time if you like and I will answer during Monday July 2.  I monitor the blog and post answers throughout the day. To kick things off, here’s a question I was asked at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writing Centre during the last week:

Which is better, staying in one characters point of view or having a variety? I was told not to “head hop”

The viewpoint character is the person through which the reader “enters” the story. Like putting on a garment, we “put on” the character’s view of the story (POV) and see everything as it happens through that person’s eyes. If there’s more than one viewpoint character, we get to see the story as it’s experienced by two or more people.

In romance novels we used to see the story only through the heroine’s eyes. She would guess or imagine why the hero did things, or what he was thinking. These days, readers want to see both sides of the romance. so it’s common to switch between the heroine’s POV and the hero’s. To avoid confusing your reader, it’s a good idea to switch viewpoints only when we have something new to learn from the other character. She might think he’s not attracted to her, for example. In his POV, we find out that there’s danger and he’s pretending not to care to get her out of the way.

There are no rules, only what works in your story.

It all depends on your point of view!

If a critique partner or editor says you’re “head hopping”, this means you’re not staying in one character’s viewpoint for very long before switching to another, and this can get confusing. Some writers – Nora Roberts is a good example – switch so effortlessly we don’t notice it happening. A lot depends on your skill as a writer.  You need to be aware of whose POV you’re writing in and when you make a switch, so the reader isn’t lost.  Also beware of accidentally slipping into the head of a minor character by having them “think” about the hero or heroine as they take their coats, for instance. Rather, have the POV character assume that the minor character doesn’t like them by their snooty expression, so we stay in the right head.

Got a question? Advanced or basic,

I’ll do my best to answer.

Valerie

http://www.valerieparv.com

Proud friend of the National Year of Reading 2012

Established Writer in Residence 2012, Katharine Susannah Prichard Centre, Perth WA

On Twitter @valerieparv

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Alphabet Soap – helping your H/h find their HEA among the romance writing acronyms

Blame texting, Twitter, or just plain human inertia…okay, laziness, but there are so many acronyms around that it’s easy to drown in a sea of them.  This blog may help you navigate your way around the ones most commonly used in writing circles.

Starting with the basics: ACRONYM – noun – word formed from the initial letters of other words eg Laser – Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

Not all acronyms are recent. When I was president of the Society of Women Writers (SWW) a member queried the meaning of SAE in contest conditions saying, “I know SA stands for South Australia but what is the E for?” We had to explain that SAE stands for Self Addressed Envelope which entrants were asked to include if they wanted their entry returned. A variation is SSAE – stamped, self-addressed envelope. SAEs can still be requested in contest conditions where  entries can’t be emailed.

Other writing and romance perennials:

H/h shorthand for Hero and heroine. Variants include M/M – male/male gay fiction, F/F – female/female, M/M/M or F/F/F or variants, menage (multiple) partner stories. BDSM stories have bondage, discipline and sado-masochism elements.

HEA stands for Happy (or Happily) Ever After, the ending readers look forward to your H/h enjoying after all their trials.

The letters don't always mean what the writer thinks they mean

POV – point of view or viewpoint, the character through whose eyes we see/experience the story. The heroine’s POV was once used exclusively but now we like to get inside the hero’s head as well. Using too many POVs leads to “head hopping” a writing sin where the reader loses track of who’s POV we’re in.

TSTL – one of my favourites, standing for Too Stupid To Live. The heroine who goes alone into the cellar of a haunted house at dead of night when the power is out is TSTL. Or a heroine who packs up and leaves after seeing the hero kissing another woman, concluding that he’s unfaithful when a simple question would reveal that she’s the H’s sister. TSTL characters turn up in “wall banger” books, so-called because the reader hurls the book at the wall in frustration.

DNF – a book the reader did not finish. See above for possible reasons.

WIP and MS or MSS – Work in Progress, also Manuscript. If the writing is  going badly, the writer may call the book “drek”. Hopefully, the editor and readers won’t.

YA – books written for the Young Adult market, eg Harry Potter or the Twilight series.

F & SF – fantasy and science fiction. SF is science fiction,  sci-fi being used mostly by detractors. SFR is science fiction romance.

ARC – where writers want to be, handing out Advance Reading Copies for review and comment.

TBR – writers and readers alike complain of a teetering To Be Read pile or file, in the case of downloaded ebooks.

Have you been puzzled by an acronym lately, or found one that made you LOL (laugh out loud)? Share it with us here.

TY (thank you)

Valerie

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