POV

I slept late…..I’m on vaaaaacaaaaation!!! Hope to see Harry Potter today and Zorro tomorrow (hey, that rhymes!) Annnd, finished DLB, ready to mail. Now, onto Surface!

This isn’t a post about changing point of view, or staying in one point of view, it’s about becoming your character and looking through their eyes. Deep POV, I guess.

When I started writing Don’t Look Back, one of my cps told me to make sure my hero and heroine’s voice sounded different from each other. What a concept, right? But a lot of books don’t have this. You can read one paragraph and go to the next and though you KNOW it’s changed POV, you can’t TELL. The hero and heroine sound the same. I hadn’t thought about it. I think mine do, but I’m not sure – Trish, JoAnn?

I think the hero’s POV is usually the one with the most trouble. Men are not as wordy as women, they are more direct, and they don’t use words like “flaxen” and such to describe women’s hair. I think it’s word choice more than length of sentence that draws me out. I wanted this scene in Hot Shot where he sees her with a French pedicure, only I knew he wouldn’t call it a French pedicure. We had a speaker at school who had a pedicure, and I went to the men asking them how they would describe her nails. “Tiny,” “Sexy” and “Pink” were my answers. Sigh. I went with pink.

Then there are the sensibilities. Some characters have “old” ideas, or know things they shouldn’t at their age. Now, I was born to a young mother, but she was born to an old mother (Gigi was an old maid, had my mom when she was 35 – old in the 40s). So I know a lot of things my peers don’t know. Sometimes I read about a character and think, but how do they know about that? They’re 15 years younger than me! I even read part of a YA where the character sounded more like a kid from the 80s than a kid from today.

In Surface, I had to cut a bit about video games that I loved, but I couldn't use it. My heroine had grown up traveling the world with her parents, and my hero had grown up spending all his time studying to get out of his home situation. Neither of them were video game freaks. A way that I kind of avoid age gaffes is to look at my younger brother (not the baby, the one coming over today to fix my heater). Would he say or do it? Then neither would my characters.

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8 comments:

Amie Stuart said...

LOL Mary great post! Funny I never thought about it but I alwasy think of my brother, or my uncle or cousins when I write men.

mary beth said...

Hey Mary! Do you find it more difficult to do deep POV with suspense? I do. Good luck and enjoy HP.

MaryF said...

Yes, Mary Beth, I have a heck of a time with deep POV in suspense, but when I get it done, I can feel the tension even more.

I'm rereading Surface right now, and it's not very strong. I'm not sure what's lacking.

Toni Anderson said...

Never thought of asking my DH what he'd call something--must try that :)

Good luck with Surface--deep POV is very hard, not sure I get it right.

*sigh*

Michele said...

For me, POV depends on the scene. If it's a fast-paced scene or if there is a lot of info, then the hero is not going to wax poetic about the heroine. Now if he's alone and brooding, then his mind is going to wander a little.

Now my heroine thinks in either short bursts or runs off at the mouth when she's nervous or ticked off.

To me, it's about finding each voice. Yes, men do think in shorter sentences and don't use fancy words while women tend to be a little more 'flowery'.

Of course, this is why I'm cutting more than I'm adding in revisions right now. Which is probably a good thing but I worry still....

MaryF said...

Oh, Michele, do I know what you mean about cutting instead of adding.

I'm reading through Adrian's POV, and he's different from Del and Gabe because he's educated, but I'm still finding some un-guylike thoughts in here!

J.F. Cossey said...

Mary: I love your point about deep POV. Often I will tend to inhabit my character, the way an actor does, until I get a real sense of what he/she is all about.

About men and being poetic, though: Well, some men do think in those terms, ie/ lyrical, poetic. Keats surely did. Byron did too, and he got around -- with a fine reputation as a womanizer (they loved him!). Yes, ok, they were poets, but they expressed themselves in such a way. Morever, if this is a third person narrator with a poetic and lyrical bent, then that poetic and lyrical narrative needs to be sustained in order to preserve the unity of the book -- no matter whose pov is in charge at the moment. Tricky, yes, but not impossible.

At any rate, you're a wonderful writer (I read your excerpt), and I know you could navigate your way through anything -- despite any little bumps you may hit along the way. :D (Can't wait to see your novels in print, where they belong)

MaryF said...

Bless you, Jessie!

Del did get a bit poetic at the end of DLB, but he was desperate. I'm hoping it doesn't sound too out of character for a man who mostly communicated in monosyllables ;)

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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