My NaNoWriMo Word Count Widgets!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Birthday books...and POV

Well, today I'm 32, and I have a caterpillar birthday cake!  My girls certainly keep me young...:-)

You know you're a writer when you still take your scheduled 2 hours at the kitchen table to work, even on your birthday.  And when you spend part of your birthday money on new writing books (I've exhausted the supply at my local library).  Today, Amazon kindly delivered:
Stephen King On Writing (a classic text)
David Baboulene The Story Book (a writers' guide to story development, principles, problem solving and marketing) and
Margaret Geraghty The five-minute writer (a whole book full of writing exercises)

I'll let you know how I get on with them!

All of the books I've read so far tell you to write something every day, and to set aside a specific time instead of just fitting it in "when you have a moment" (because that moment will never arrive).  I haven't written anything new in the past 24 hours but I've been reviewing the first 4 chapters of Hospital Corners to take Point of View (POV) into account. 

It's not something I knew much about until I read How Not To Write a Novel by Sandra Newman & Howard Mittelmark.  It's a great book, very funny in places, and one of the more helpful writing books I've read over the past few months.  There are many books telling you how to devise a story arc, write a character CV and so on....but this book trumps them all.  It really got me to consider POV from sentence to sentence.

Here is a paragraph from Chapter 1:  "Esme gave a deep sigh.  Here she was standing in an empty hospital cafeteria; a lone figure in her thick wool winter coat, her pink cardigan poking out the bottom of the sleeves in little frills, a mid-calf tweed pleated skirt, thick black tights and sensible flat, stout shoes."

I wrote the description to let the reader "see" Esme more clearly, but didn't think about POV.  This whole chapter is supposed to be from Esme's POV and I've just described what she's wearing from an author's POV.  When did you last describe exactly what you were wearing to anyone, let alone yourself?  I fell into the trap of telling the reader what she was wearing, not showing them what she was thinking as she stood there. 

Here's the amended paragraph:  "Esme gave a deep sigh.  What must I look like?  An idiot, that's what.  All wrapped up in my warmest winter clothes in a hospital where the thermostat is set to boiling."

It might take me a bit longer to get on with writing new chapters, but it'll definitely be worth it in the long run!

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