Thursday, June 11, 2009

Casting Call

If you've been around the theatre even just a little, you know that actors act. During the process of blocking scenes, costume fittings, make-up trials, and rehearsals the actor and character become one for the run of the play.

On breaks or in coffee shops, the actors will lapse into their character in the wink of an eye. Even years later, upon meeting again, two actors may exchange a line or two from when they worked together.

When I write first person fiction, I get into the character in the same way an actor does. I begin to think like them, feel what they feel, and sometimes talk like them. Whether I am writing little Shasta's double negative dialogue or Mother Elizabeth's lines, for that moment, I'm in character. How else would the pinkie promise come up? I don't do pinkie promises in real life, never have. Besides, I'm the mom of three boys, we don't do that girly stuff. It all came from being in character.

When writing third person, the writer is an observer and tells the story as if Mr. Watson to the character's Homes.

The argument can be made either way as to which style battles telling over showing. The real key to whether the story is boring has less to do with the POV (point of view) than with the story and the writing. Most of the time, it is clear which POV to use for each book.

There ya go. That's my take on POV. I think first person present tense writing is like 3-D, surround sound, IMAX. If you want inside the mind and heart of the character, then read my books. Dare ya.


  1. That's exactly what happened to me when writing my Fan Fiction "Forbidden Love"! I wrote it in Luke's POV, my main character, of course, and I could feel what was happening to him as I wrote it. And when re-reading it, I felt even more excited, like I'd never read it before!
    I've written a short story in 3rd person, because it felt necessary. And I woudln't change it.
    I'm a really proud writer, I always love what I come up with, otherwise, I won't write it.

    xo, Ella

  2. Ella!

    Fan fiction is a great way to learn to write. You already know the characters, so you can focus on the story line. It won't be long now before you write your first novel.

    Good for you that you let the story dictate the POV. Lots of beginning writers are afraid to deviate from the norm and give their writing such freedom.

    I love what you said about reading your work seems like you hadn't read it before. I like that part about finally finishing the writing and sitting down with the book as a reader. Isn't this gig wonderful!