Blogs by S G Cardin
Noticing Things as a Reader
7/12/2007 4:16:54 AM
I just wanted to drop a line about what I notice as a reader. I know they say to improve your writing skills, you should read from time to time and currently, I'm juggling two books, "Whitney, My Love," by Judith McNaught, and "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince," by JK Rowling. Here are some thoughts.
Over the course of the past couple of years, I'm encountered a "core set" of advice from editors that I've worked with - mostly with IUniverse editorial staff through their editoral evaluations.
#1 is - keep POV straight. Don't head hop within a scene. Don't start out in one character's POV and then switch to another by the end of the page. This is disconcerting for the reader. This is known as the "Lonesome Dove," POV since it was the POV used in the Lonesome Dove and that series was a big success. It's also cautioned against in the book, "Self Editing for Fiction Writers." Head hopping can confuse a reader.
Since my time is a little limited, I'll just stick with that point today.
Rowling, in HP6 basically used a third person omniscient with her Harry Potter series. The majority of the book is told through HP's view. He's mostly in every scene. Now in the beginning of HP6, There's a scene with Snape, Narcissa, and Bellatrix, that Harry isn't in. Mind you, for Rowling, this is RARE. But Rowling does keep the POV straight. She doesn't head hop, and by using an omniscient POV, there's very little tempation to cheat.
Needless to say, we all know how successful her series is.
Now McNaught has recieved praise and accolades in the Romance genre and "Whitney, My Love," was her first book. This book uses a "lonesome dove" perspective where you could have been in 3 character heads. This POV never bothered me before but now that I read it, do find it a little annoying. What takes away from the ANNOYING aspect of it, (and what I think makes McNaught as successful as she is) is that her balance of writing is just right. There's a wondeful balance of descriptions (not too much, not to little) and character emotions. Character voice is consistant. Sometimes she hits the reader a little over the head with her voice and her insistance, but the polish in the words is there.
Now, I did "The Wolf's Torment," using 3rd person, occasionally shifting scenes in a chapter, but basically shifting scenes with new chapters. I tried to keep one character POV in a scene or chapter. There's no "lonesome dov," perspective in it. I did it this way because after all my editorial guidance, I got the impression that is the more accepted way to do for readers.
My book, "Are Your Dirty Little Secrets," was in the "lonesome dove," perspective. It was a romance and recieved an editor's choice selection from IUniverse. Mind you, it's an earlier work and while I think it's as polished as McNaught's, I don't think I would have used "lonesome dove," had I been aware of it.
One thing I did realize while evaluating these written works: I think the Romance Genre is much more forgiving when an author uses a "lonesome dove," perspective. I see a lot of it. Even Kathy Love, a paranormal romance writer uses "lonesome dove" perspective.
Thoughts, comments, feedback welcome. I hate to cut this short, and so I'll be back in the future with more comments.
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