Sunday, June 18, 2006

Whose Story Is It?

Hello! So, yep, I’ve been away from this blog for a while. Deadlines, you know.

But while I’ve been working hard to meet those writing and Orange Blossom deadlines, I’ve been keeping the craft of writing front and center. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe there’s ever a time when I’m not thinking about how to create a better story. And P.O.V. is one of those tools of writing that keeps me on my toes. Which character wants to tell the tale? One of them or all of them?

Whenever I start a novel, I find I write in third person-limited POV. Others exist, such as first person and omniscient, but for some reason third person-limited beckons me every time. The story just seems to click then. Perhaps it’s because I enjoy delving into the psyche of the characters. I want to know how the heroine feels about the hero and vice-versa, or what the antagonist is thinking—what’s his motivation for giving the protagonist a hard time?

But that can be accomplished in first person, too, right? Yes, there are different ways to approach it, ways that solve my need for multiple character points of view. For example, have you ever read CHOCOLAT by Joanne Harris? (I know. I've used this story as an example before, but I like it alot). Anyway, Harris has two different characters tell first person accounts of the story that takes place in France, during Lent: Vianne Rocher (the woman who runs the chocolate shop) and Pére Reynaud (the local priest). Harris manages to keep the reader in this deep, intimate POV, yet we know exactly what the protagonist and antagonist are thinking and feeling. Cool. That makes me want to attempt writing a story in first person. One day, I’ll give it a try. Have you ever written one?

Then there's omniscient POV, which has that “fly on the wall” aspect. But whenever I try to write that way, I just…I don’t know…I simply don’t feel close to the characters, so I wind up slipping into third person-limited. It could very well be that I haven’t practiced writing in that POV enough to feel that connection. But it also seems that, as the author, I’m intruding on the story. So maybe more practice is in order. Other writers can pull it off without a hitch, but not me. Have you tried omniscient POV?

So, what's your favorite? Do you write in more than one? I’d love to hear about it!