Whose Voice Matters Most? #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #writetip #writing
The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.
Thank you Raimey!
Have you ever read a book and wondered if a supporting character should really be the one telling the story and not the one chosen for the book?
Secondly, I wonder how we writers should decide on a character and are we ever blind to one voice because this character resonates better to our own preference versus the success of a better storyteller closer to the mystery in the plot?
I’m not sure. What I do know is a great exercise I’m been using these past couple of days to really flush out the theme of my own book in a 5th or 6th draft. It’s helping me question my own choice.
In a post by the beginningwriter.com, the author states POV is “who’s eyes we see the action through, who’s head we’re inside of, and who’s feelings we experience as that character feels them.”
The author goes on to say, “This is why it’s so important to choose the right POV character for your story. It will “determine what you tell, how you tell it and, often, even what the action means.”
As I’m working with 90 Days to Your Novel with my revisions, I have been experimenting with the following writing exercises:
1. I’ve chosen three characters from my story and I first wrote a quick scene illustrating a powerful emotion in spine tingling situations all on the same day of pivotal event which shakes up a sleepy seaside town and launches a mystery of why the captain did what he did and how he managed to disappear. This exercise taught me several things about the story. I learned what different clues each character noticed, the dejavu experiences in some and the separate unique reactions, body language cues and emotions spiraling out from this scene and character. I almost fell in love with another character’s version of the mystery and am now scratching my head. Can I drop it into the book somehow with the same impact? Again, I’m not sure but what else do I have to lose?
2. Then I took these three characters and I dropped them in the same scene per the exercise in Domet’s book on POV and character. One character experienced a life changing or mood altering paradigm. One character envied the change. Then the third character, make them natural to the situation.
3. Lastly, reflect on the differences. Write out a paragraph for each scene you review and ask these lovely questions from Domet:
Which perspective did you find the most natural?
Which perspective offers the most interesting vantage point?
If you started your novel today, which character would you pick to narrate the story?
Good luck with your writing. Next time I’ll let you know what I decided about my POV.
“You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.”
~ Denis Waitley
Posted on July 18, 2018, in Uncategorized and tagged choosing the write character, Erika Beebe, writing tips. Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.
At the moment I’ve got two POV characters, but I’ve been thinking that one is stronger than the other. If I change to one POV character though I have to get rid of a chapter I really like, so it’s a hard decision to make!
The exercises from 90 Days to Your Novel sound useful though, so I think I might check it out. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thank you for stopping in today Louise. I wish you luck on exploring your POVs for your work in progress 🙂
I like that experiment. I’m sure it works best before you start writing the story because otherwise you have a decision to make if it’s already underway.
I’ve always gone into my stories with the main character (and POV) firmly entrenched in my mind. Usually 2 characters and one does emerge as the stronger of the two.
I like how you go in with two characters and you really pay attention to who comes out stronger 🙂
I could see this exercise being very helpful if I ever got stuck choosing a POV. In the first novel I wrote, I actually ended up adding on a second during what was probably my third draft. It added a new layer of story and I do think its what was needed. For this novel, however, the main character was always clear from the start. It can be a bit tempting at times to switch POVs, though, when one character’s back story seems to want to shine a bit brighter.
Choosing the write POV is so important! Thanks for these great exercises to help me the next time I get stuck! 😉
I do something similar within my first draft. Go through a scene adding from each individual pov adding reactions and dialogue. It does deepen a scene. 🙂
Anna from elements of emaginette
In a way I have it easy on this point because writing romance there are really only two viewpoints, the lover and the love interest. Trying to write outside of that guideline is extremely difficult if you want to be traditionally published 🙂 Still, my secondary characters have a lot to say and this is super valuable to keep in mind when I’m writing them!
Hi Erika! You have some great tips here. You might want to consider who has the most to lose or gain in the story as a whole, or who changes the most throughout the story. All the luck with this new story! Enjoy your summer!
Thank you Victoria 🙂
Great exercise! I’m not sure how I determined my POVs, but I’ve always know who they would be. Occasionally, a side character will pop up for a scene though.
Wonderful post. I found that one character i started out with was just not working for me. In fact I was just plumb bored with her. So I sent her away and replaced her one with mor gumption.
And, I just love the color scheme and graphics on your site.
Such an amazing post, and it’s brought me back to when I was fleshing out the plot for the book I’m about to finish. It alternates between 3 POVs, but it could have been so many more. I had just read a very popular book with very contentious opinions on the amount of POVs, which was SO many, and I was like, no more than 3, no more than 3! How can I make it work? And it turned out, even though I really liked the voice I was developing for this one other character, I didn’t need it. We’ll see if people like what I’ve come up with!
I have wondered about that rule myself. Thank you for sharing what you know and I bet people will love your story Raimey. You have me interested already!
I’ve tried something like that as well, not just with which character to use as my POV but also what voice to tell it in: first person or third. When I’m unsure, I start writing first in one then the other and see which one is most natural. Usually, it’s the third person but lately I’m enjoying playing with first person.
I’m usually pretty certain who my main character is but it’s an intriguing idea to play around with POV, just to get another perspective on the story.
Thanks for sharing this. I love finding new books to read on writing!
Thanks so much for sharing! Those three reflection questions are so useful; I’ll have to reflect on those more as I think about POV. Especially the first one: which one feels the most natural? Sometimes I try and go in the opposite direction of what feels most natural, since I often don’t want my characters to sound too much like me, and I feel like I would end up erring on the side of inserting too much of myself into fiction. But it’s a super fine line to walk; I also don’t want the voice to be TOO unnatural, to the point where the reader finds it unnatural, too! 🙂
That sounds like an interesting and useful experiment. I always seem to end up with two or three POV characters. I go with what feels and sounds right to me.
You are an excellent writer Lori and that’s the best way to go 🙂
Such an interesting exercise!
It took me a few different characters to decide which one I wanted as my POV character. Sometimes they make it so easy, yet other times we’re stuck until we try everything.
Thank you JJ! Each story is so unique!
That would be a neat experiment, and a revealing one two for those characters part of the exercise. Thanks for sharing!