Can Choice of POV Mean DOA?

So, I’ve hit a wall again with my reading. It happens.

Client work keeps me really busy and there’s the not-so-simple matter of finalizing the mountain of book details before publishing, preliminary marketing and mucho tasks still to do that make it nearly impossible to start a book let alone stay awake long enough to read it.

I was sooooooooo eager to read Jamie McGuire’s follow-up to Beautiful Disaster released recently. And though I started Walking Disaster around my birthday – now over a month ago – I didn’t finish it until just the other day. Because of a new practice — I say gimmick — that’s becoming more prevalent and much panned by the fans, though they may have only themselves to blame. The alternate POV.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-couple-holding-hands-image15708971Now, don’t get me wrong: of course, when I read any book in the female protagonist’s point of view, I’m slightly curious as to what that same book would sound like from the lead male character’s perspective. But be careful what you wish for. Sometimes what we think we want, we actually do not want at all. And while there may be different layers and colors to the story because it is being delivered from a totally separate and unique voice, it doesn’t change the fact that (A) the story plot points will remain the same and (B) the dialogue that features both characters is, yep, you guessed it, going to be identical, too. So, essentially, you’re hearing the same story retold. While hopes of hearing some new conversations and witnessing new revelations about said male character may be appear in the book, overall, these can be fairly scarce as in the latest McGuire follow-up. And this isn’t a slight at this author at all. Quite the contrary, I frequently cite McGuire as being very influential in my interest in the genre in the first place and she is by no means the only author to use this device.

What I question is why fans that beg and beg authors to do this then turn on them when they do? I have seen so much flak over McGuire’s sequel, people who are positively LIVID with the final results.  I am certain that the book is the result of those same fans’ loud and bubbly appeals for more Travis ‘Mad Dog’ Maddox! Folks, you wanted to hear from your book boyfriend, so there you go! You got him!

Some writers like M. Leighton (Up to Me) and J. A. Redmerski (The Edge of Never) do a fantastic job volleying back and forth from chapter to chapter representing multiple POVs while continuing to move the plot along without repetitiveness or an opportunity for boredom to set in. It is done skillfully, creatively and compellingly for the reader.

I went back and forth on choosing how I would tell my story for my upcoming book The Muse Unlocked. Initially, it was first person, present tense. Then, omniscient third person present tense and back to first-person past tense. Like a see-saw. I really struggled to make up my mind. Finally, I decided on ominiscient third person past tense.  And I’m glad that I did. The reader primarily gets an inside look into the main female character’s thoughts but there are some scenes in the book, where I do let the reader privy to what’s behind the words and actions of the lead male and I believe it was a simple case of being a reader of this beloved genre myself.

As I wrote, I kept asking myself – if it were me reading this, what would I want to know? Whose mind would I want to crawl up inside and examine more closely?

I’ve heard some authors talk about writing for genres outside their own favorite reading preferences simply because they had that one great big idea or they developed a following early and kept on feeding it. I don’t think I could do that. If I fell out of love with a style or genre, I think my heart would pull my words and stories somewhere else. I believe I would feel compelled to travel in a different direction.

Right now, this is where my heart lies and is supposed to be, and I feel fortunate that I know this. My own POV is clear as a bell. Now if only choosing it for our characters were that easy…

Happy reading!
ck

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