It all depends on your point of view.

Hi everyone.

Today I want to talk about something I’ve been dealing with in my novel lately — POV, which stands for Point of View.

If you write you know all about the POV issue —

  • what are the different kinds of POV?
  • what are the Pros and Cons of each POV?
  • and how do I know which POV is best for me?

Here’s what we know so far. There are quite a few POVs — 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person limited, 3rd person omniscient, multiple, unreliable, omniscient, head-hopping, and probably others I haven’t even thought of.

I won’t go into the pros and cons of each POV in detail, except to say you can figure out what they might be based on the name of the POV.

For example, when you use 1st person in a story you’re limited to showing only those things your narrator can see. That’s a con. However, when you use 1st person the reader is right there with your character, in the story. Boom. Instant reader involvement. That’s a pro.

So how do you choose which POV to use? And what damn difference does it make?

I’m glad you asked.

Choosing a POV involves a lot more than reviewing the pros and cons and then picking one. It’s more subtle and personal than that. You have to do all that, sure, but then you need to figure out how your character wants to tell the story, and then decide how you feel about that. Does she want a little space, but is still glad you came along? Try 3rd person limited. Is he okay being the star, but he doesn’t necessarily want you to know every damned detail because secrets? Unreliable.

 

 

 

And then how do you, the writer, feel about all this? Do you think your 3rd person limited character has too much energy for that POV? Maybe let her loose in 1st person.

As for what difference does it make which POV you use — don’t forget everything in your story is conveyed to the reader through your POV. If the one you choose isn’t the right one for your story, you could end up with a confused or dissatisfied reader. 

And nobody wants one of those!

 

 

 

Thanks for reading, and let me know your thoughts on POV in the comments section.

 

Writers on Writing

Hi everyone.

I have recently collected some of my favorite quotes on writing from some people I admire. It’s always comforting to know that someone better than you has been “there” before — full of doubt, exhausted when the words don’t come, angry at one’s own clumsy ineptness — and  that they kept going anyway. Here’s a few of them.

“I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” – Terry Pratchett

And … “The first draft of everything is shit.” — Ernest Hemingway

“You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” ― Octavia E. Butler

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” – Mark Twain

“Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.” — Stephen King

And most important …

“Write what should not be forgotten.” — Isabel Allende

 

That’s it for today. Let me know what some of your favorite quotes about writing are in the Comment section.

Thanks for reading.

 

You’ve Got 3 Wishes …

Hi everyone.

I was looking for blog post ideas this morning and came across this …

If you could have three wishes to change the way things are now, what would they be?

This got me to thinking about all the things that are wrong with the world right now, and what I would do to fix it.

You might have different concerns, but here’s what I came up with …

Eliminate Racism

Eliminate Sexism

Eliminate Sexual Orientation Discrimination

 

That’s it. Eliminate these three harmful, divisive mindsets and you’ve wiped out a good 90% of the hatred, pain and humiliation that people currently inflict on their fellow human beings.

Of course we will still have religious fanaticism, nationalism, classism and plain old stupidity to spice things up, because we wouldn’t want the Earth to look like some half-assed Utopia now would we?

What would your three wishes be?

Let me know in the Comment section.

Thanks for reading.

Close Encounters of the Fangirl Kind

Being a fangirl is to live a life full of extremes.

To paraphrase Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities — it can be the best of times and the worst of times… depending on what’s currently going on in your celebrity’s life. (Ugh. PR relationships and fake baby rumors anyone?)

Today I want to talk about a different kind of celebrity fangirling … a higher level of fangirling that focuses on an appreciation of creators and their creations. (Huh. Sounds so lofty, don’t it?)

Yeah, today I want to talk about some of the authors I’ve met, or sort of met, or could have met if I had only said something… Sigh. So in no particular order, here goes …

Ray Bradbury.  He was scheduled to give a talk during some 48 hour movie marathon being held on a college campus in Camden, NJ — one of the worst, most crime-ridden cities in America — at night. There might have been 40-50 people in the audience that night, and he did answer questions, as I recall. Of course, I was too thrilled — and too intimidated — to say anything to him, but damnit, I COULD have, so I’m counting it.  Besides almost meeting Ray f*cking Bradbury that night, the one other thing I remember was when I asked some nice African American gentlemen for directions to the school, one of them said, “Girl, are you lost?”

Stephen King. In contrast to my Bradbury “encounter”, this is more of an unconfirmed sighting, if I’m being honest, but hear me out.   I was standing at a bus stop on Roosevelt Boulevard (aka US Route 1) one afternoon, waiting on a bus.  Now when you “wait on” a bus, you don’t just stand there staring straight ahead. You stand on the the very edge of the sidewalk, and stare up the road the bus is going to be coming down… so you can get the first, possible glimpse of the bus way before it actually reaches your stop.  So there I am, following bus-waiting protocol, when I spot this tiny foreign car (at least I think it was a foreign car, but hell, what did I know? I was taking the frigging bus!) barreling down Route 1 in the right-hand lane. Inside the car was this big guy all hunched over the steering wheel, looking all tense, but determined. (Driving on Roosevelt Blvd./Rt. 1 has that effect on people, believe me.) My first – and last – thought was “That’s Stephen King!” as he flew by me less than six feet away. Don’t fight me.

 

 

 

 

Clive Barker. I think I actually took the day off to go to a book signing of his. I even made my girlfriend, Mary, use her precious lunch hour to accompany me to this book signing of someone she didn’t even know. Thank God she did, because otherwise I would have been hauled off by his security guy for being a drooling idiot. Don’t ask me when this was, or what book I gave him to sign, or whether I actually said anything to him – I just remember standing there with my mouth open while Clive and Mary had a nice, little chat about fans, and his handwriting looking like a doctor’s, and who the hell knows what else? It’s all a big, embarrassing BLUR. And I am totally counting that as “meeting Clive Barker”, so there.

 

 

 

 

Laurel K. Hamilton. This was at a science fiction convention in St. Louis. I attended a panel she was on, and afterwards, ended up in the same restroom… at the same time. Not wanting to bother her (while simultaneously letting her know I recognized her, but was being cool about it), I nodded at her in the mirror above the sinks. And, yes I’m counting it.

 

 

 

 

Have you met any of your favorite authors? Were they triumphs of fangirling? Or tragedies like mine?

Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.

 

When laziness strikes …

Hi everyone.

I apologize for not getting a blog post done yesterday – my entire life was derailed by a dentist appointment in the time of corona.

You know you’ve crossed over into the Twilight Zone when you, the dentist, and her assistant are all wearing face masks. The first thing that comes to mind: How are we going to do this? After some discussion, it was decided that I should be the one to remove her mask.

It was a bit confusing, but I think it all worked out in the end.

Anyway, since all I can think about right now is the story I’m writing, and how to get through Act 2 without losing my frigging mind, here are some writing memes to inspire you.

What’s my story about …??? TF if I know!

Hey, buddy — wanna die?

 

 

 

 

When the only fingers that showed up for writing today were your STUPID fingers.

The dreaded “morning after” …

 

 

 

 

Staring into space with both hands on the keyboard definitely qualifies as “thinking about my novel”.

So, I really should get back to work before I do any more damage.

Let me know some of your favorite writing memes in the Comment section!

Thanks for reading.

Location, location, location — Where do you set your stories?

Hi, welcome back.

Today I’d like to talk about the setting for my novel (tentatively titled The Terrible Strange), discuss some of the specific locations, and why they were included.

First of all, it’s set in Philadelphia but it could be any city, I suppose. Philly is just the one I know the best. And I wanted everything to occur in a city because I love the energy and diversity of cities.

Plus, anything can, and does, happen in cities, so why not throw one more thing — like an inter-dimensional monster and the guy who’s hunting it — into the mix?

Then I wanted my protagonist, Jake, to live in an area that used to be rat-and-roach infested, but now, thanks to an expanding Ivy League school, is a highly-sought-after neighborhood: West Philadelphia near the University of Pennsylvania.

However, Jake doesn’t actually go to Penn, he goes to Temple University. For some reason known only to urban planners, I suppose, Temple has not had the same positive influence on its surrounding neighborhood as Penn has. Temple, in fact, is in a shitty, dangerous area. Great for writing about, but not so great for living in. Or going to school in. And that’s were Jake’s part-time job is, too.

I chose neighborhoods adjacent to colleges simply because they practically vibrate with energy — and energy plays a big role in my story. Plus, you see more diversity in these areas than anywhere else in the city, and I love having characters of different cultural and religious backgrounds, and colors, and sexual orientations. College, ideally, is where people discover, and express themselves. It’s kind of glorious, actually.

Also featured is

  • the old Fairmount Water Works located along the Schuylkill River near the  Art Museum (because I needed somewhere for my monster to rest and heal after its arrival on Earth), and
  • Eastern State Penitentiary, a prison built by the Quakers in 1829, now a crumbling ruin — it’s where the final battle for the fate of life on Earth takes place

Oh, and don’t forget all those wonderful underground subway tunnels, allowing God-knows-what to move through the darkness to every part of the city.

Let me know some of your favorite locations — in your town, or around the world — in the Comments section.

Thanks for reading!

Message in a Bottle

Hi, welcome back.

Spent this morning helping my husband set up a recording studio in our living room. He’s recording his first Bad Buddhist Video vlog, based off his original Bad Buddhist Radio podcasts right now. I plan to do something similar, myself, although I don’t have a body of work to pull from like he does. Also hoping to get my own podcast up and running soon.

Anyway, all of this we’re doing lately — the blogs, the vlogs, the podcasts — made me think of how old-fashioned this stuff is (despite the technology). Whether we’re writing a book, or a song; making a blog post, filming a video, or recording a podcast … they’re all basically the same thing. We’re all reaching out,trying to make connections with other people to stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Because believe me, no matter how much we all deny it, humans really do need other humans. Connections — social, physical, and spiritual — are sort of like the grease in the wheels that keep we humans going. Without it, we can carry on for a little while, but it won’t be long before we grind to a halt and possibly burst into flames.

 

 

 

 

Connection is especially important to creative people — it’s the sustenance we crave to keep creating. It’s the reason why there are so many new YouTube videos are being made right now; why so many artists and musicians are sitting in their living rooms or garages singing to us; why talk show hosts are bravely doing their monologues from home — complete with strangely flat jokes — knowing that none of it’s the same without us in the room with them.  They — we — are all trying to connect with one another during this strange time.

It’s sort of like together we’re all creating a 21st century version of Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year. Why Defoe’s “historical fiction”,  and not Pepys’ diary, (a contemporary account based on his actual experiences)? Because even though Daniel Defoe was only 5 years old in 1665, the year of the Great Plague in London, his Journal was a combination of his uncle’s personal experience, research and systematic detail. In other words, Defoe tried to paint the bigger picture while still grounding the event in the personal.

Which is kind of what we’re all doing, on a subconscious level.

So here’s my message in a bottle.

Someday it will be found and added to the 2020 edition of the Journal, making some OCD historian very happy as she/he/they pastes my little scrap of humanity in it’s proper place on the Covid19 timeline.