The Page a Day Writers Group

New Shoes Kick Point-of-View Blues

Posted on: May 23, 2011

I’m now in the second week of a twelve-week online Book-Writing Workshop (www.allwriters.org/on_line_classes.asp#BOOK-WRITING) with Kathie Giorgio, author of The Home for Wayward Clocks (Mainstreet Rag Publishing, 2010). I’m using the course to revise my novel-in-progress, with the working title of “Sisters of Aguamiel.”

Each student (so far, six are participating this session) may submit up to 15 double-spaced pages per week for critique from the other students, and also receives a line-by-line edit from Ms. Giorgio.

We gathered for our first online chat last Monday to discuss each student’s work. I must admit, my heart was pumping nervous adrenaline; would it be a shark fest? Or worse, a rose-colored glasses yawn? But I’m delighted to report the chat was a satisfying blend of on-point critique and positive strokes. The cherry on top was Ms. Giorgio’s thoughtful edit and critique.

Of course, I was thrilled to pieces with every crumb of “nicely done.” But I was also depending on input as to what isn’t working. So, when Ms. Giorgio wielded her POV (point of view) paddle, I got my fair share of whacks. What of my blog post title, you ask? Did I promptly treat myself to a new pair of Nikes to soothe the pain? Not a bad idea, but no.

I’m following my sage instructor’s advice and stepping into my main character Agave’s shoes. In order to nail POV, the reader has to feel like she’s right with your character, inside her skin, seeing and experiencing what she experiences, walking in her shoes. This sounds obvious, but for me, easier said than done. I’m writing in third person, but from Agave’s perspective. So the challenge is not to feel removed from Agave’s experience, while using the third person throughout.

To help get into her shoes, Ms. Giorgio suggested I try a section in first person, as Agave. I can switch it back to third person once I feel more in sync with her. I’ve achieved glimpses of resonant Agave-ness, but chunks of my first section lack the immediacy I’m striving for. So, my task is set: put on Agave’s shoes for POV immersion.

Have you struggled with point of view issues? Have you written a story or novel in first-person perspective? Perhaps since this is my first novel, the thought of that feels overwhelming to me, but I’m about to try rewriting my third 15-page section that way, as an exercise- I didn’t have time to completely rework my second class submission.

I’m looking forward to the class chat tonight, when we’ll discuss our second submission. More adventures in revision to come!

Ondine Brooks Kuraoka

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6 Responses to "New Shoes Kick Point-of-View Blues"

Choosing the POV always seems like one of the hardest decisions. Trying different points of view as an exercise seems like a great way to work it out. I’m off to try on some new shoes!

Let me know how it works out, Shary! Yes, the process continues… 🙂

Hang in there, Ondine. I wrote the first draft, of my first novel, not having a clue about POVs! I was head hopping all over the place!

I write in 3rd. person, and it has taken me a long time to learn how to stay in one POV at a time. A couple of years later – and I think I have it figured out!

Good luck in the class. I can’t wait to hear more about it!

Oh, the joys of head hopping! I love hearing about your journey, Sharon; thanks for sharing!

The novel I now have on Kindle was first written in third. WhenI switched to first it opened up for everyone who then read it. It does help to step into their shoes.

You’r so fortunate to be part of a small class. I look forward to your next session’s lesson 🙂

Liz

Wow; thanks for sharing that part of the evolution of your novel, Liz! It’s worth it, isn’t it, to reshuffle perspective sometimes? Thanks for your encouragement 🙂

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The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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