Author Topic: Another POV Question  (Read 3785 times)

Offline Vogel

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Re: Another POV Question
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2016, 07:46:16 AM »
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, MJ. I had a similar reaction to first person novels at first, though now I love them. I still have the same feeling when coming across a present-tense book. It just doesn't feel right to me, but I haven't yet come across one that I loved.

But thanks. And I need all the good luck I can get.


I don't think that being traditionally published defines success (or skill) for a writer. There are plenty of self-published writers who find success on their own. There's traditionally published crap. Self-published writers out there who are writing at a higher level than some who've had dozens of books published through big name, traditional publishers. I have an old critique partner who has been moderately successful self-publishing her own romance novels, because, I believe, of her background in business, marketing and graphic design, as much so as her writing ability. I envy her, and have a hell of a lot of respect for what she's been able to do for herself.

Still, I'd rather have help in this. I want to try to find an established publisher for my book before settling for self-publishing. Now, I'm not saying that all authors are settling by self-publishing, but for me, it feels that way for a few reasons, because if I went this route without even trying to find a traditional publisher first (and failing), I'd feel as though I cheated myself. Just a personal feeling. I mean no offense to anyone.

Though I will say, and it's not only to keep from pissing off a few fellow members who have gone this route, that I have great respect for authors who have the nerve and dedication to publish and market their own books and even more for the authors who're able to do this successfully. People think querying is hard, well try selling your own book.

There's so much competition out there already. Everybody in the world seems to think they can write their own book. Maybe I'm one of them. To me, that's the biggest downfall of self-publishing. One thing that traditional publishers did do, at least the good ones, they expected a certain amount of quality. Now, since so many writers are out there publishing pieces that aren't up to snuff, many are getting in too big of a hurry to publish, instead of learning the craft first, they've made it harder for the quality writers to be seen and heard, and they've also tainted the reputation of self-publishing to some degree, I think. Not that it's a lost cause, of course not. Like I said, many people are still having success doing it on their own.

As for me, I'm not business savvy, I don't know the first thing about marketing. I also feel that I don't have the resources, knowledge or the contacts to sell my book by myself. I know that a person can still succeed at self-publishing, if they work hard enough at it, and I know that I could learn about all these things, but I don't want to. I'm stubborn. I have this naive, idealistic idea in my mind that if I go the traditional route, I can focus on writing and leave everything else to the publisher. I know this is naive thinking, I realize that traditional publishers are often not using their power effectively and the authors are still left to do some of the work that originally they may not have been responsible for, like marketing and establishing an author platform, which scares the devil out of me. I want to be one of those reclusive authors that hides on some mountain all day, where the readers know nothing of them other than the generic bio on the back of the book. Maybe it's not realistic.

Either way, I want access to their resources. The traditional publishers are still hogging the retail book shelves. Maybe one day that will change, but until then, like I said, I want access to their resources.

With that being said, I would rather be a successful self-published novelist, independent, and not having to share the profits of my own book. But to see myself being able to successfully market my own book, I just have a hard time believing in that. Maybe one day, and maybe I'm selling myself short, but I do want to try the traditional market first. And if that fails, well, my goals may change and I may have to step out of my comfort zone.  :)

« Last Edit: May 06, 2016, 07:59:56 AM by Vogel »

Offline MJTennant

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Re: Another POV Question
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2016, 02:18:10 PM »
Hi Vogel

Thank you for this insight.  I totally hear where you are coming from.  I felt the same way myself and have attempted to walk the traditionally published route but to no avail.  I was young and very wet behind the ears but determined to have a go.  Both my nan and my mother were writers and so I think I felt like it was in my blood.

Although the experience was time consuming (blood, sweat and tears and all that) I did learn a lot from it.  I also received a generous amount of un-generic feedback which doesn't usually happen with rejections (oh and a rasher of bacon from somebodies sandwich in the middle of my returned manuscript which I took as a sign that they'd at least attempted to read it)!

I totally agree with you that in order to self publish it helps to be in the know about marketing.  However, due to the net and social media, marketing oneself is so much easier than it used to be, there are so many areas to tap into.

I wish you great success and how exciting to have a goal to work towards.  If the traditional route doesn't work though you won't have failed, even with an agent writers are finding it hard to get their work seen (as you say, too much dross for publishers to wade through, everyone thinks they can do what Rowling did).  I don't believe that half the stuff that gets submitted gets given the time it deserves (scan reading is not reading).

Once again good luck and sock it to em!

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill

M J x

Offline Emery

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Re: Another POV Question
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2016, 01:44:38 PM »
I'm late to the party, but I find the question interesting so I wanted to chime in.

To address the original question, I think the crux is in the balance of the two. I believe if an author is looking at a story and feels that one character is important enough to be the main character, and that character is so much so that they should use 1st person, then inherently the story almost has to be told from their POV. However, like Jo mentions, once you do that, you've established reader's expectations for the novel.

It was about a year ago I think, but I read The Weight of Blood. The first half of the book went well. I can't remember if it was 1st or 3rd, but the story was told from a mother's perspective from years ago and her daughter's. However, about halfway through, the author added, I think, three or four other POVs for the reason that you are stating. Major story events had to be told and the two protagonist couldn't do so. So, I ended up losing the spell and at the end had an overall blah opinion of the book.

From that, as I think writers (if that's what I am) should do, I ask myself why? Two things: One, there was one character only had a chapter, and that was to deliver pivotal information for the plot. I thought it lazy. How can I get my character from point A to B? I'll just hand of God-it. The second was the balance. I don't mind stories told from 3, 5, or 10 POVs, if each are important, interesting, and germane.

From what I know about your work, I think you might be okay. I would make sure the balance is there, that if you keep Ruth in 1st that she is the predominant voice of the piece, and the other 2 POVs are there not just to deliver plot but also because those protagonist have a unique story to tell themselves that will add layers and depth to the work overall.
All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Offline Vogel

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Re: Another POV Question
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2016, 05:33:31 PM »
Thanks, Emery.  Since receiving this feedback, and after a lot of thought, I haven't written any scenes in third yet. I've played around with telling the other story (flashback) while still maintaining Ruth's POV. So, right now, she's telling Flora's story, slowly slipping into her POV to tell it, transitioning into something that reads like 3rd person, but is still in Ruth's voice.

It's hard to explain. I'm just playing around, seeing what comes of it. It's still going to take a lot of thought and revision, and some help from others, I'm sure, but I'm hoping I can pull it off. So we'll see.

I feel like for my story this would suit it better. Instead of beginning a chapter in third person, when the prior was written in first, the chapter begins with Ruth obviously beginning to tell another person's story, where she wasn't actually there, but she's been told enough to know what happened. I'm hoping to make the transition gradual enough, so that it works. I'm also reading I am Pilgrim to get a feel of how one author does it. If anyone else has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Offline Simple Things

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Re: Another POV Question
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2016, 07:56:14 AM »
We can get locked down in revisions, in trying to find a path that's acceptable by everyone - but really it doesn't need to be. When the story is done, it's done and it's time to send it out to see. You'll forever get conflicting opinions, eventually you'll have to choose your own and take that risk. When we keep changing our story it becomes almost recyclable, over used and we lose our 'definition' of what that story once was.

Offline Vogel

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Re: Another POV Question
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2016, 08:06:24 AM »
I agree but I'm still trying to figure out how to tell the dern thing.  ;)

Offline Simple Things

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Re: Another POV Question
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2016, 08:23:37 AM »
Over time I came to this belief about how a writer should tell their story:  it should be how they first seen it in their mind. If that is in 1st - then write it in 1st. If it is in 3rd - then write it in 3rd. If there is a mixture - then do so. Whenever your mind sees a story one way and you force it into another - you are fighting the story the whole way. Like building a square house on a round foundation; sure it stands but it doesn't feel solid everywhere.

So, my opinion on how to tell your story is this. Let it come out as your mind sees it. Don't be concerned about other ways. They might work for other writers but not necessarily for you or for this story. Don't put obstacles in your own path.

Some stories need to be 1st pov, as do some moments. Some need that 3rd overall pov. Some even need 2nd (I love second pov because it teaches you how to write in 1st and 3rd - I don't think I would do a full novel in 2nd because of the stigma, but I've successfully wrote short stories in 2nd and had no audiences burning the piece. The pov is only a tool to the story. If the story is good, it doesn't matter which one you choose. Write the story.

Me rambling - 2nd coffee :)

Offline Annmarie

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Re: Another POV Question
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2016, 08:29:47 AM »
Over time I came to this belief about how a writer should tell their story:  it should be how they first seen it in their mind. Whenever your mind sees a story one way and you force it into another - you are fighting the story the whole way.

Amen.

I revise to high heaven, but I think no revision should undermine the original sparks that made the story what you wanted to write to begin with.
Work hard. Believe. Take a chance.