Monday, February 8, 2010

On Reading

As some of you may know, we had a lot of snow last week and here in NC that means no school. All week. But I have survived and so has the Small One. That being said, I could not write. I need to be silent to write. NO music, tv, phones, and especially no "mommy, mommy, mommy."

I decided to read instead. Study up, polish a voice or two, take a stab at the pile in the crate. And so, I read the three books you find in my sidebar. (I know, I read really fast, I finished those in 4 days.) One was literary, one 'chick lit'**, and the other genre - historical romance. (**the author says in the back of the book she queried this out as women's fiction but the publisher printed it as chick lit.)

I made some really interesting discoveries, about writing and about myself. Last week while I was blogging around, there were several posts on POV; head-hopping, deep 3rd person POV, 'narrator' POV, second person POV, (which some say is really hard to do) first person, first person omniscient -- all this stuff I didn't quite grasp. (Sometimes I'm smaht, other times not so much.) I read through the blogs and wondered what the hell they were talking about. And that's all I did. Just wondered. For the longest time, I haven't paid attention to the "rules" of writing I just write. If it sounds funny, I change it. As my brother would say, "Not anymore." (Think Steve Martin with a French accent.)

(As a side note, I will not identify any of the books by name, only by genre. I don't want the google police after me, or the authors if I say something bad.)

Okay, Book One - Literary. This was written in second person POV, and it was a little tough to read. I couldn't seem to get into it easily. Don't get me wrong, it was a great story, sort of, (the ending confused and bewildered me) and the descriptive prose was beautiful but the writing was heavy, like Hemingway's. If I hadn't known who the author was I would have sworn it was written by a man. This book taught me, again, why I don't read literary fiction. It didn't have a happy ending. And it made the beginning unbelievable, well, actually it made the whole thing kind of unbelievable (and not like sci-fi fantasy unbelievable either.) This book taught me a lot, especially about 2nd person POV and descriptive narrative.

Book Two - Genre, Historical Romance. I love this stuff. Hence, why I write it. However, this time I read it from a student's eye and boy howdy, did I learn something. For one, the copyright was 1987, so that says something in itself. The story was great and kept me engaged but now I know why word counts have gone down since then. It dragged and dragged and dragged through the same plot points over and over and over again. It was written in 3rd person POV but talk about head-hopping, which to me, in a romance, you can't really get away from, but I did notice a few scenes where there was a sort of 'Narrator' POV that shouldn't have really been there, I'm sure would have been cut from my manuscript. It was interesting for me to read this and say, "Oh look at this, look at that, that's wrong, no move this." At least I can see what I'm doing in my own MSs now.

Book Three - Chick lit. This was written in first person POV which was okay. I could follow it. The writing was light and airy, sometimes funny, sometimes quite engaging. And then it wasn't. I read through it and thought, well, where's the transistion scene for this. Where's the plot point for that? And then toward the end she kind of segues into this really important moment, and I wondered, why did she bother with the segue, she should have written a BAM! And of course the ending was NOT HEA, but sort of, which is why she wanted it to be women't fiction. I would have personally liked it if I knew definitely the MC was going to stay home, but the author only hinted at it, and that really kind of rubs me the wrong way. I'm a Happily Ever After girl. You know.

And so, there you have it. My wonderful walk through POV's. It has taught me I like and can write in 1st and 3rd, and I should probably stay away from 2nd, or at least wait until I get a few books published under my belt before I start to tackle that kind of thing. And as for the 'was's' and the 'that's', well, guess what, the literary book had a boat load of 'em in there. So they can't be all bad. Now if I can only figure out where my dangling particples are, I'll be all set. LOL

What POV is your favorite to write in?

And read down through the Welcome post -- there's a contest announcement over at Chuck's blog. And I linked to it. Honest.


Nicole Ducleroir said...

Hi Piedmont ~ Enjoying all that snow? My favorite POV to write in is definitely third person limited. First person is good too, but it has to suit the storyline. Otherwise it's too restricting.

BTW, I have to have silence to write, too. I'm trying to glean mood from music, but so far it just distracts me.

Dominique said...

Enjoying the snow?

One of my favorites is in 3rd person limited. One of my other favorites, though, is in 3 rotating first persons -- a very interesting set up.

Teebore said...

Most of what I've written is third person omniscient; that's just always seemed easiest and most natural to me. I've done first person from time to time, but I don't have as much fun with that.

I did write my current WIP as third person limited, which posed some fun and interesting challenges.

Falen said...

i do maily 3rd, both limited and omniscient. I've also done first, but i don't like it as much

sarahjayne smythe said...

I write in all three, depending on the story I'm trying to tell and the tone I want the piece to have. I like the tone of first person, I love the self-indulgance of second person, and I love the freedom of third person.

Sorry, I'm pretty sure that doesn't really answer your question. :)

Erin Kuhns said...

It's an interesting subject because I recently wrote a short story and had a friend from my writing group read it. She brought up some pretty critical points and so I began reworking it.

I had written the story in first person--an older man--and then after talking to her, I changed the protagonist to a woman.

But after rewriting most of the story that way, I decided to abandon it and go for a walk. Something was bugging me. And while shuffling along my snowy road, it hit me! I have to write this story in 3rd person! That's what's going to make the outcome work!

So yes, very cool timing with this post. Thank you for that!

Piedmont Writer said...

Sorry for the delay in getting back here to comment but the internet was down, due to ALL THE FREAKING SNOW!!!! And it's supposed to snow again tonight. Which means the Monster Baby will not have school again for 2 days. I digress.

After looking at all your comments I'm going to have to break out all my writing books again (that have sadly sat in my crates and not been looked at since college). You guys are just too smaht for me.

An aside to Sarah Jayne -- I love what you said... "I like the tone of first person, I love the self-indulgence of second person, and I love the freedom of third person." Maybe I don't have to get out my books after all.

Lady Glamis said...

Great post! I'm so sorry you're stuck in snow. Here, there's nothing. I'm really enjoying the bare ground and blue sky right now. Usually February totally sucks here and all it does is snow.

I write mainly in 3rd POV. What genre would you put MONARCH in? I know Davin can write a killer 2nd POV for short fiction. He's great with that, but reading a whole novel in that sounds really tiring.