Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Moment of Clarity

I love it when I’m reading a book and I realize what I’m doing wrong or have been missing in my own writing. This morning was one of those times. While reading Laurell K. Hamilton’s THE HARLEQUIN, I wondered why myself and a million others enjoyed her character Anita Blake so much. The woman is cynical, self-centered (though that’s improving), homicidal, has anger management issues and presently dating/sleeping with six men. Truthfully, I cannot relate to her on any level. Even with all those minuses, I think she’s one the most interesting, powerful women I’ve read in a long time. And I do love the books though all the sex is even boring ME.

Now back to my point. I finally realized why people say I need to go into deep POV more often, and they have problems relating to my characters. I know why my characters do what they do, how they feel about certain situations. But I haven’t let the reader know the reason behind all her or his motives. Their experiences that make them who they are.

Whenever you and I do something or make a decision, we’re base it on past experiences and the knowledge we have presently. If we had been betrayed by a close friend in the past and someone new makes an overture to be your friend, we don’t think, "Oh, I will wait about being friends with the person until I know she really wants to be my friend and not use me. Because my so-called best friend, Sally, slept with my husband."

No. We’re just cautious about what we say and how much we let that person into our lives. Then gradually they become our friend or they don’t. No thought to it. Just instinct built by past experiences.

But in a book we can’t let the heroine just react to a friend or the hero without thought as we would. People will say she’s cold or a bitch. We have to let the reader know in a sentence (not massive back-story) or even a word why the heroine isn’t willing to be as friendly back to the newcomer.

So if your heroine is on a date with that someone special and a co-worker from the office walks over to say hi, you would write something like, "Ann wanted to believe Wilma’s smile to Jake was the same she gave to most everyone at the office. She wanted a new friend so bad. Or was she fooling herself again. No, she refused to color everyone with that brush. Time to introduce them to each other and hope for the best."

Hopefully that helped you some. There’s a good chance most of you already understood this. Deep inside I thought I did, but now I have it clear in my mind and will be more conscious on how to use it.

I love how each time I write or read, I learn something new or understand something clearer.

Is this some of what you believe Deep POV to be? Do you have some examples you would like to share?


MaryF said...

For me a deep POV has me feeling the emotion that the character is feeling. Right now its Harry Potter and I am somewhat distracted....

I am pitiful.

JoAnn said...

One of my favorite deep POV authors is Diana Gabaldon. She plunges the reader so deeply into her characters that he/she loses all sense of reality! Gabaldon uses 1st person POV in the Outlander series, and I imagine this helps contribute to the reader's complete absorbtion in the story. But there's something else I can't articulate. Maybe I should read them again to see if I can figure it out. :-)