One of the struggles I’ve had throughout the writing of A Gift of Grace is deciding which character’s point-of-view to be in. A lot of the early chapters were written from the ghosts’ points-of-view (Rose and Dillon) but it was making the love story aspect really difficult. I wound up tossing all those scenes, despite some fun stuff and nice writing in them, because I felt like the book should be Noah and Grace’s story, not Rose and Dillon’s story. Now the book alternates between Grace and Noah, absolutely consistently, and point-of-view is maintained rigidly. There is no head-hopping in my story.
That said, at FWA, I listened to Marie Bostwick speak about character creation and listened to her read excerpts from her work. At the end of her session, one of the questions she was asked was about point-of-view and about the fact that she’d shifted points-of-view in the excerpts she was reading without scene breaks or clear divisions. Her response was that yeah, she ignored the rules about point-of-view switches because her readers didn’t care. She said that if you do it well enough, you can get away with anything.
I also read a blog post from Rachel Aaron recently on one of her Writing Wednesdays about choosing POV, and she said:
When I’m deciding on a POV character, my most important considerations are 1) who’s got the most interesting viewpoint, and 2) information control.
(The link on her name leads to the exact post if you want to read more.)
The scene I’m writing today has a lot going on. It should be fun. But by a lot going on, I mean A LOT. Anyone and everyone’s viewpoint might be the most interesting. I had a great line to end the scene with that only worked from Grace’s viewpoint. Then I had the inspiration* to use Dillon’s viewpoint, which I haven’t used before, but hey, if his perspective is the most interesting, why not? Then I realized that some of the emotional impact is probably best from Noah’s point-of-view. Gah! Decisions, decisions.
*I didn’t change that clause to ‘felt inspired’, although I was tempted as soon as I reread, because it is a perfect example of a hidden verb. A hidden verb is when you turn a perfectly good verb, like inspired, into a noun instead, ie inspiration. Hidden verbs should be pulled out of hiding whenever possible!
I still haven’t decided whose point of view to use, but instead I came up with a plan: I’m going to write all the dialogue first. Not descriptions, because those should change based on POV. Noah’s non-native perspective on kayaking in FL should be different than Dillon’s perspective since he hasn’t been able to go kayaking for years, which should be different than Grace’s perspective as someone who goes kayaking every week, so I can’t write those parts until I know whose voice I’m in. But the dialogue, without in-depth tags, should be the same experience for everyone. And once I have that dialogue written — once I know who says what and how — maybe I’ll have a much clearer idea about whose head would be the most fun to be in.
This is, of course, a very anti-NaNoWriMo way to write. It means writing, revising, writing, revising, which is a stupid way to try to get 50,000 words written in a month. But the good news for me is that it’s still October, so they don’t count as NaNo words anyway. Yay!
So yeah, that’s the writing plan for today. I’m looking forward to seeing how it works!