When I first started writing I just sat down and wrote things as I heard them in my head. I never gave any thought to my writing style or any kind of writing detail. It wasn’t until after I was published that I thought about these things… I know… that’s really backwards, LOL!!
I started being asked about writing in first person and how and why I chose to write POV shifts (That’s point of view for any non-writers). It never occurred to me that writing in first person or switching POV’s was something not every writer does. Then I heard that sometimes readers didn’t like to read books where the POV shifted… and I got nervous. (I’m a nail biter, and so my nails have suffered). What if people didn’t like reading POV shifts, what if they didn’t want to read in first person? Thankfully, most people have enjoyed it (and the ones who didn’t haven’t said much, lol). But still, people ask what the process is like to write with POV shifts and in first person. So this is my answer.
My Heven and Hell series is written in First Person. To me, I can’t imagine writing any other way. Writing in first person really gives the writer and the reader a chance to get to know the character. When I write in first person I put myself in the characters head and write as them. Really, it’s a nice break from my own internal dialogue…. I can be a lot to handle sometimes – even for myself. LOL.
Masquerade (Heven and Hell #1) has 4 POV shifts. Yes, it is a lot. I didn’t set out to write it that way. It evolved. The first draft was all Heven, the main character, with no other POV shifts. Then as I was reading it I thought… this needs something. It needs more. Then I came up with The Hate and The Hope. Two unidentified personalities in the book that the reader gets glimpses of. They are strong personalities – strong characters – but the reader doesn’t know who they are until halfway through. I think as you can tell from their names… one is good and one isn’t. Complete opposites. How did I manage that? I wrote all of The Hate scenes first. I slipped into that ‘bad’ personality and really asked myself what my version of heinous was – what someone in that position would do and say and I wrote it all out. I found the places to insert the scenes (which are short – no more than one page) and I wrote. Then I went back to those Hate scenes and I followed them with a Hope one. Something that pretty much went against The Hate. So I stayed “in character” with each person I wrote. Then came Sam. He is a huge part of the book. My editor actually suggested writing a scene or two from his POV and it worked so well and added a whole other side to the story that you would never have gotten to see so I did it through the whole book. Every time I felt there was a need for more depth or explanation or action in came Sam. That’s when I realized it. I hadn’t known Sam at all. That really hit me in the face like a wet mop. How could I have written a book (actually the second in the series was done as well) and NOT know one of the main characters. I was appalled at myself. So I plowed into Sam’s head and really got to know him. I won’t lie – the first couple scenes I wrote of him were the hardest of the book. Sam has secrets… secrets and feelings he didn’t want even me to know…. But I went with it and I kept working. And Sam came alive.
I think writing in so many POV shifts was very challenging but so useful in really getting to the bones of the story. I was able to understand the story from every angle and not just see it through Heven’s eyes. I hope that it makes it a better – fuller story. Is it necessary for all books? Nope. Was it necessary for this one? I think so. Judge for yourself.
The challenging thing about POV shifts is making sure the book still flows and that the writing stays consistent. Just because the character is different doesn’t mean the writing necessarily will change. The writing is what sets the tone throughout the entire book. The characters are what give it flavor.
In short (yeah, cause I’m so good at being short, lol) writing is like cooking. A little bit of this, a little bit of that all thrown together make on great stew. Its finding the right mix of ingredients that make the story.
So that concludes my thoughts on writing today. J What are your thoughts on POV shifts in books? Love em, hate em? Too distracting? Tell us how you feel…
EV: So, what do you think? I personally love pov shifts. I am sorta addicted to them, at least, for the moment. If any of you have read my stuff, you already know this. Since I love movies, and movies deal in a very similar fashion, jumping from character to character and scene to scene, I too have adopted this technique, and it works pretty well. So…any other authors or readers wanna chime in and try to prove me wrong? Either way, a huge thank you to the rockin C.H. for droppin by to entertain us and offer a bit of insight. Check out her books on amazon and look over her bio. She’s pretty cool!
Spread the fire!
Cambria Hebert grew up in a small town in rural Maryland. She is married to a United States Marine and has lived in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and back to Pennsylvania again. She is the mother of two young children with big personalities, is in love with Starbucks (give the girl a latte!) and she is obsessed with werewolves. Cambria also has an irrational fear of chickens (Ewww! Gross) and she loves to watch Vampire Diaries and Teen Wolf. Her favorite book genre is YA paranormal, and she can be found stalking
Cambria is the author of the Heven and Hell series, a young adult paranormal book series. The series begins with Before, a short story prequel and is followed by the first novel in the series Masquerade. Look for all her titles where all books are sold.
Cambria also co-hosts a live, internet blog radio talk show, JournalJabber, (www.blogtalkradio.com/journaljabber) where she dishes about books, publishing and everything in between: hair in a can, toilet snakes, chicken phobias, etc..
You can find Cambria on Facebook, Good Reads, Twitter and her website http://www.cambriahebert.com for her latest crazy antics and the scoop on all things Heven and Hell.