Post - April 9th, 2013
by Natalie Nixon, PRG Reviewer and Beta Reader
A Reviewer's take on book festivals...
Hello! My name is Natalie Nixon, and I am a new Reviewer and Beta Reader here at the Paranormal Romance Writers Guild. On March 9th and 10th I enjoyed a weekend at the Tucson Festival of Books, in Tucson, Arizona, and I thought I would share my experiences with the book lovers of PRG!
On March 8th, my good friend Pamela Donovan and I braved a blizzard to drive from our home town of Flagstaff, Arizona to Tucson, a drive of nearly 300 miles. The ice and rolling whiteouts that we ohhhh so slowly crawled through (it took us about an hour and a half to travel the first forty miles) were a testament to our interest in writing and our desire to learn from professionals in the field. We survived the drive, and came away from the weekend inspired, refreshed, and full of ideas and tips from the authors we love to read.
According to the Arizona Daily Star’s special publication detailing the weekend long event, the Tucson Festival of Books is the fourth largest Book Festival in the U.S., and last year it saw 120,000 people attend. This year there were more than 300 presentations, from genre specific panel discussions, to culinary demonstrations; storytelling, book signings, entertainment stages (we caught belly dancing as well as a circus) and children’s and science activities rounded out this family friendly event.
Every possible literary genre that could be imagined (and some I’d never heard of) was represented, and the Festival drew many big name authors such as R.L. Stine, Larry McMurtry, Diana Gabaldon and Jodi Picoult just to name a few. (Arizona Daily Star, Special Section, Sunday March 3rd)
For Pam and I, the real struggle was deciding which presentations we wanted to attend during each time slot of the weekend, as there invariably were at least three or four that sounded fascinating, all happening at the same time. Fortunately the layout of the Festival, on the grounds of the University of Arizona, was easy to navigate. We found that most of the romance and paranormal romance presentations we wanted to see were located in the same building, and held in cozy little lecture halls that kept the mood intimate.
We attended panel discussions with names such as, “It’s Not all Demons, Death and Destruction,” “Antiheroes,” and “Why do People Love Vampires?”. We heard such authors as Gini Koch, Chris Marie Green, Richard Kadrey, Marsheila Rockwell, Kerrelyn Sparks, Cynthia Garner and Terri Molina.
By far one of the more fascinating discussions bore the title “World Building.” The panel consisted of well known Sci-Fi authors Sharron Skinner, Dr. David Brin, Patrick Rothfuss and Sam Sykes. The yellow legal pad that I toted around with me and jotted notes on was filled with goodies from this discussion. Some of the issues bantered about were practical in nature, such as the advice that a fictional World built 30-40 years in our future is the hardest one to achieve. Why? Because the author of such a World has to take into account all of the technology around today, and extrapolate in a plausible way what will be happening with it at that time in the future. However, the further out an author builds their future World, the less plausibility is necessary because greater suspension of disbelief is possible. Once I heard this I thought, “Of course!” Would I have ever thought of it myself? Never.
An important issue discussed by this panel was how much of your new World do you relate to your reader? How many details are too many? Does your reader need to know what the leaves on your alien trees look like? After all, as an author you may have spent hours inventing a new botany for your World. The consensus among the authors was that creating a World and revealing that world are two very separate things. The details of the new World that are most important to reveal are the character driven details. The details that are important to your character’s specific journey are the ones to reveal. If your character is a medicine woman, then she is going to know the details of the medicinal plants of her world; she will notice the shapes and colors and smells of the leaves on those alien trees.
Aside from the fascinating panels that we listened to, a highlight of the Festival for me was the opportunity to meet so many authors! I was lucky enough to chat with Historical Romance author Kris Tualla, winner of the 2010 Romance Writers of America’s Romance Through the Ages award. Kris’ “Discreet Gentleman” Series features a hero, Brander Hansen, who is a private investigator in Norway in the 1700’s. Yes, he’s tall, he’s handsome, and he’s also deaf. Wait a minute, what? How often do you read a hero who suffers from a handicap? The catch is, Brander’s deafness is not a handicap; on the contrary he uses his other heightened senses, and his skill in lip-reading, as an advantage in his trade. As Kris described her hero to me, and her inspiration for creating him, I was deeply interested to read the first book in her series, “A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery,” to see if she did indeed approach her deaf protagonist with sensitivity and creativity. I personally had taken four semesters of Deaf Culture and American Sign Language classes in college and so I knew a little bit about Deaf History.
Well, let me tell you, Brander delivers! He is intelligent, ambitious, irresistible—all expected traits of the hero of a romance. However, his life circumstances (he lost his hearing at age seven, and as an adult was disinherited because of his deafness) allow him to be a bit damaged, vulnerable, egotistical at times—all things you expect of a well rounded character! I very much enjoyed reading “A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery,” and look forward to the next book in the series!
Another author who was kind enough to pause in her busy book sales and speak to me was Erin Quinn. Erin is the author of the Award Winning “Mists of Ireland” Series. Long time lovers of Paranormal Romance no doubt are already quite familiar with Erin’s books, but as a newer convert to the genre I had not read her work yet. Erin described how her interest in Paranormal Romance developed from a lack of it when she was a teen. She told me that she had always been an avid reader, delving into adult books when she was nine. She was a big fan of Steven King, loved the thrills and chills, but as a young adult wished that they offered some romance too, even a bit of smut! Well, as an adult, she has succeeded in creating a darker strain of romance. After our chat, I purchased the first book in her Mists of Ireland series, “Haunting Beauty”. I was completely swept away by Erin’s beautifully descriptive voice—I could picture every stone on her rocky Irish shore. And more importantly I was completely intrigued by her haunted characters. Their emotional struggles had my heart twisted, and the supernatural forces they face were believable and truly frightening. I am so glad I followed what began as my superficial urge to read about some “hunky Irish men.” My urge for smut was satisfied, but so was my appreciation of a quality, literary voice.
The Tucson Festival of Books turned out to be a far more enriching experience than I was expecting. I would urge any PRG member who has a weekend to spare in early March to head to sunny southern Arizona and devote at least forty-eight hours to exploring the hundreds of booths and tents. Not only will you satisfy the book lover in you, but I guarantee that you will meet some fascinating and gracious authors. And if you’re an aspiring writer like me, you will come away ready to tangle with that plot and pump some life into that hero who lurks in the back of your brain!
Post - February 8th, 2013
by Melodie Campbell, PRG Author
the purpose of fiction should be to entertain...
The other day, an American interviewer challenged me about the purpose of fiction; should it always contain a moral message? My instant answer: No No No! The purpose of fiction should be to Entertain, and nothing should come before that.
Why? We have countless other venues that preach morality. Religions seek to teach us how to behave. Every day we are bombarded by newspapers, radio and other nonfiction outlets, that expose us to the ‘evil’ of greedy politicians, nasty world despots and out of control celebrities.
If fiction was required to follow a moral code, we would miss so much. If the good guy always won – if the bad guy always got caught – wouldn't that make fiction lamentably predictable?
Does that mean fiction can’t teach us something? Of course it can! Put me in the mind of a serial killer for a few hours. Let me know what it feels like to experience the overwhelming greed of a con artist. Dress me up as a torch singer, with a black heart and a gun in her stocking.
Let me discover something about how other people think, if only for a little while. But above all else, entertain me. Don’t preach at me, even from a distance. I don’t want it from my fiction.
Just tell me a damn good story, thank you. Take me out of the real world for a few hours.
That’s the purpose of fiction.Melodie Campbell is an award-winning author of 40 short stories and 5 novels, including the comic time travel romance, 'Rowena Through the Wall'. www.melodiecampbell.com
Post - February 2nd, 2013
by Jolie du Pre, PRG Author
ALEX HONNOLD FREE SOLO CLIMBER:
THREE THINGS AUTHORS CAN LEARN FROM HIM...
You may have seen Alex Honnold interviewed on "60 Minutes." He's the young man who climbs large mountains with no rope or other equipment. It's incredible to watch.
The 27-year-old started climbing indoors when he was around 11 or 12. He continued doing that until he was 18. Then he dropped out of University of California, Berkeley’s engineering program to climb outdoors full-time. "I just didn't like college," he said. "On a typical day, I'd buy a loaf of bread and go out to Indian Rock and do laps."
So Alex leaves an excellent college and an excellent program. And it isn't like he left college to enter a professional program. He left college to live in a van and climb mountains. However, since then sponsors, such as The North Face and Cliff Bar, took notice, and he now makes enough money to support himself doing what he loves.
1. Go for your dreams
If your dream is to become a full-time fiction author, the only way you're going to accomplish that is to go for it. What do you need to do in your life to accomplish your goal? Are you married? Can you live off of your partner's income while you work on achieving your dream? Is there additional writing you can do to bring income in right away until you’re earning income from fiction writing?
Life is short. If you want to write full-time, figure out a way to do it.
2. Face your fears
Free soloing is no joke, and many of the people who are known for the dangerous sport, such as Michael Reardon, are dead because of it. But if solo climbing scares Alex, he doesn't say so. "Hey, we've all gotta die sometime. You might as well go big."
Are you afraid to submit that manuscript? Have you edited your novel a million times but still haven’t published it? What's holding you back? Are you worried about what others think to the point that you haven't submitted anything?
If you want to be a published author, you have to write, but you must also submit.
3. Trust yourself
When you watch Alex, a man who has soloed Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, for example, you see loads of confidence. If you're going to climb a mountain with no equipment, you have to have confidence.
Trust yourself. Get some confidence. You have to believe that there are readers out there waiting to read the stories you write, and it's your job to find them.
Jolie du Pre is a full-time, published author, editor, article writer and blogger. She has short stories in over 15 books, and she’s the editor of three anthologies. Jolie is the founder and editor-in-chief of Leodegraunce (Leodegraunce.com), a site for quality flash fiction of 200 words or less. She is also the founder of GLBT Promo (Glbtpromoblog.com), a promotional blog for GLBT erotica and erotic romance. Her horror/paranormal novellas are The M Series. Jolie loves writing, reading, traveling, cooking, running, yoga, Pilates, pole dancing and monsters.
Visit the author at:
Post - January 15th, 2013
by Melodie Cambell, PRG Guest Author
FANTASY, COMEDY AND ROMANCE...
A MAGIC COMBINATION!
I love a novel that has fantasy, comedy and romance all rolled into one. And in my writing classes, I teach how and why this combo works like magic.
Behind all novels, there is conflict. In Romance, we are looking to get a man and a woman together. But there must be conflict, there must be a reason why they can’t get together or there is no story. Otherwise two people meet and their relationship grows smoothly. A nice happy life for them, but not much for a reader to get excited about.
So how does one sustain a romance plot that will last 60,000 words? Somehow, you have to come up with conflict. There has to be a reason why the man and woman can’t be together, or refuse to be together, even when everyone else knows they belong with each other.
When writing historical fiction, it’s easy to find sources of conflict. The man is the wrong religion, or the woman is not the same class…the father can refuse to allow it…lots of reasons. Shakespeare made an industry of it. But today, anything goes. It’s enough to make a grown writer cry. Drat that sexual revolution. Drat that our earlier taboos are now so much history.
How can a romance writer find enough plot to make the romance conflict fresh?
1...Use comedy. Here’s how I do it: I call it my law of ‘worst thing’. Take a situation, and ask ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen now’? Or the most embarrassing thing? In my books, I follow the ‘worst thing’ rule to the maximum. What’s the worst thing that could happen to Rowena when she walks through that classroom wall? Or the wackiest? My heroine goes through lots of ‘worst things’ until she finally gets the man she wants in the last chapter.
2...Use fantasy. If – like me - you find it hard to create believable conflict between a man and a woman in modern times, how about switching to a different setting? Put her in a ‘girl out of time or place’ situation and watch the fun appear. Create a fantasy world where the rules are different and your heroine has to push past a whole bunch of obstacles to get her man. Make these obstacles ones that don’t exist in our 21st century North America.
Add comedy, and you’ve got a winning combination. What’s the funniest thing that could happen to your girl out of time? Then, what’s the worst thing?
Here’s the key, as I’ve discovered it:
The trick to combining humor and conflict is to play each against the other. Taut suspense is broken up by bathos, making the suspenseful parts seen more dramatic. And – as I have learned from writing my own novels – one can make humor seem more funny by juxtaposing it against gripping danger.
In fact, a steady diet of unrelenting wacky humour can make one grow blase, just as a steady diet of porn might dull one to sensuality.
But that is another column entirely. On a slightly softer note, can you combine humor with sexual passion? Read Rowena and make your own decision.
Melodie Campbell has over 200 publications and has been published in almost every genre. She has won six awards for fiction and was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer and Arthur Ellis awards. Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.
“Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?”
When Rowena falls through her classroom wall into a medieval world, she doesn’t count on being kidnapped – not once, but twice, dammit. Unwanted husbands keep piling up; not only that, she has eighteen-year-old Kendra to look out for, and a war to prevent. Good thing she can go back through the wall when she needs to…or can she?
“Hot and Hilarious!” Midwest Book Review
Follow Melodie’s comic blog at: http://funnygirlmelodie.blogspot.com/
Post - July 19th, 2012
by Sheri Fredricks, PRG Premium Author
PITCH ROOM PANIC...
Back in October, I attended the Muse Online Writer's Conference. Have you enrolled in it before? There are a gazillion workshops to attend at your leisure, chat rooms workshops, and major downloads to be had. There is also an opportunity to pitch your work to both agents and publishers alike.
This latter prospect is done in a pitch room, which is in chat room format. I think they should change the name to panic room. Want to know why? Read my story:
Lea Schizas, the Muse Conference Creator, informed me of my time slot to pitch. I was watching the conversations flow in Chat Room Two, waiting my turn. The moderator announced I would be number two in the pitch room, a separate chat room from the waiting room.
The previous pitch session with another agent was still going on and I had five minutes before mine started. Then I noticed not much was being said, no one was adding to the conversation scroll. So I wrote something on the chat board. No response. I clicked over to read my email – the internet access read: NO CONNECTION.
I closed the internet and went back in. NO CONNECTION. LOL! Talk about panic! Well hell, you know the feeling. I ran out to the garage where our wireless router and modem are located and saw the modem was down. While I’m calling the cable company and have the landline phone to my ear (so NOT a good time for an outage), I'm disconnecting cables and wires and re-connecting as fast as I can.
The lights come on s-l-o-w-l-y as full connection resumed. AHHH!!!
Back in the house, I opened the internet and zoomed as fast as my connection would allow to Chat Room 2. And, I think I forgot to mention – I had to pee so bad! As soon as I got into the room and told the moderator what happened, she said, “Just in time. You’re up next.”
Oh Man! Hands shaking, heart’s pounding, I’m wiggling in my chair ‘cause I got to go... Then I get the bold letters, all in caps: GO.
First you have to log out of Chat Room 2, then log into the Pitch Room with a password. My hands were shaking so bad, I could hardly type the letters. Did I mention I had to PEE??
I pitched my MS online while standing up at my desk, praying the connection would stay. The publisher's rep starts asking me what my plan is to market my book.
Well it's a good thing I just read some marketing stuff from a Muse class that very day, because I would have said zero. Pee is now slugging my bladder to get out, yelling at me to hurry, hurry, hurry!
As soon as I was asked to send the full, I beat it out of the Panic Room as fast as politely possible. Logged out of the Pitch Room, logged into Chat Room 2, and told everyone in the waiting room what my results were.
Then I posted that I wanted my transcript. When I was told to wait on Lea, I started cramping. I HAD TO PEE!! Didn't the moderator understand that? To make sure she did, I posted just that. Now the whole chat room knew, not that I cared at the moment.
Then the Rep I pitched came into Chat Room 2. Now I had to stay and make nice-nice with her! Which wasn't hard since she was a very nice lady to begin with.
Finally receiving my transcript answer, I announced a good luck to all, thanked the publisher for her time, the moderator for her great work, and left Chat Room 2.
My groan of relief in the bathroom was probably heard all over my side of town.
Post - March 26th, 2012
by Marianne Morea, PRG President
HOOK, LINE AND SINKER...
In our digital world, the concept of perusing bookshelves has taken on a whole new dimension. While brick and mortar bookshops still exist, they are closing at a rate faster than real estate agents can post their For Lease signs. These days the majority of readers surf the web and online bookstores for new releases and old favorites, a place where they can 'take a look inside' at the teasers and sample chapters authors have posted, and have email reminders sent with new releases and promotions.
Yet, however much the physical act of perusing bookshelves has changed, the process readers employ in deciding on which books they'll spend their hard earned money has intrinsically stayed the same. With the exception of Amazon's free reads program that is all the rage now, for the most part, books are still picked up, flipped through and examined before being purchased.
So what lures a reader in? What is it that entices them to pick up your book and scan it? In the world of publishing, there are varying answers, in varying order...a provocative cover, endorsements from other well-known authors, glowing reviews, marketing, social networking, price... But I would be my next royalty check, editors abound who would all agree it's the hook. That more than anything else, it's those first few beginning paragraphs/pages and intriguing back cover blurb that seal the deal.
That said, then how does one go about crafting the beginning of a story? Of course, it all starts with an idea. Some inspiring thought, dream or experience that takes root in our fertile imagination and grows from there. But that's not the beginning I'm talking about. I mean, once the idea for a story has formed, and you're sitting with your hands poised over your keyboard, how do you get from staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page to those first all important words?
I have to chuckle, because the first thought that popped into my mind as I asked the question was the phrase, lather, rinse and repeat. I don't mean I suds it up before I sit down to write, but I will invariably write, read, delete and then repeat the process until the words in front of me not only sound right, but feel right. Most authors I know, write from their gut. Their stories, like mine, aren't formulaic. They have a life of their own, as do their characters, and when you live a character's life through your words, you have to feel the truth of it...viscerally. To sane people, that sounds more than a little crazy. But to writers (and artists of any kind) it makes perfect sense.
How many of us get to the end of our stories, type the coveted words The End, and then go back and reread the opening few paragraphs of Chapter One and tweak them? I know I do.
But what's the best way to write a good hook? Should you begin with dialogue, plunging your reader straight into the mix? What about prologues full of description and back story? Are you a fan of starting your hook in that way? I think there are as many right answers as there are different authors. It all has to do with style and voice. I myself have done it with dialogue, and I've also done it with full bodied description, pages before I got into any real dialogue...both equally successful and both putting the reader right into the story. So, what's your style? How do you hook your readers into wanting to hear your voice tell your story?
I'd love to know...
(Scroll to the very bottom and click the link if you'd like to leave a comment)
Post - January 25th, 2012
by Kelly Abell, PRG Board Member
HOW TO TIGHTEN UP THAT WRITING!
When you are writing a novel one of the most important things you can do before you submit to an agent or editor is tighten up your writing and make it be the absolute best it can be and avoid really long run on sentences that don’t add much value and really drag your story down.
(Whew) See what I mean? Many times it’s the simple things that keep your book from being read by an agent or an editor. Here are some tips…
Stay tuned for more on this topic!
Post - December 15th, 2011
by Kelly Abell, PRG Board Member
A LOOK AT THIRD PERSON POINT OF VIEW...
Third person POV can be quite confusing and take on many forms. A writer needs to be cognizant of their utilization of those forms. In this blog entry I will attempt to help you as a writer distinguish between the types of third person POV and how to successfully use them in your writing.
The first method of third person narration is the Dramatic or Objective Point of View. This method is used most often by writers and involves rendering action and speech that all the points of view share. You are not in a particular person’s head from a narrator’s standpoint. The presentation is limited to only what is spoken and what happens. There is no presentation of inner thoughts of the characters. This leaves readers the freedom to react on their own accord, much like a jury in a trial.
Next let’s discuss the Omniscient Point of View. Omniscient means all-knowing. This narrator can see all, know all and potentially disclose all. Here the speaker of the novel presents not only action and dialogue but also reports the inner thoughts and reactions of the character. In reality we can never know what is in another person’s mind, but we make assumptions and that is the purpose of the omniscient point of view. This can add dimension to the characters in a novel.
Within the omniscient POV you may have the Limited or Limited-Omniscient POV and this focuses on the thoughts and deeds of the main character in a story. Personally this style works well for me. Here I can present my character’s thoughts and motivations. The reactions and emotions of my characters take on a depth I can’t accomplish with dramatic point of view. It gives a story richness without limiting whose eyes a reader can view a story through.
Limited-Omniscient POV leads many editors criticize writers for “head hopping”. With head hopping a writer adjusts this Limited-Omniscient POV too quickly and without a scene break. It can be utterly confusing for a reader when a writer presents a scene from two limited-omniscient points of view. That is not to say that you can’t use more than one Limited-Omniscient POV but it is easier on your reader if you have an obvious scene break or chapter break prior to changing which character’s thoughts and emotions you are presenting. This is particularly important in love scenes or arguments. You can illustrate what your POV character is observing and that will give you the ability to show your reader what is happening without getting into the other character’s head.
Third Person POV can be an easy way to tell a story and give a writer the ability to richly describe the events and actions of a story as well as demonstrate the deepening of all the writer’s character’s development. Write on my friends and enjoy exploring many different points of view for the depth they can add to your stories.
Post - November 30th, 2011
by Lori Pescatore, PRG Board Member
Hello, My name is Lori Pescatore and I am the author of Human Blend and the newly released Earth Blend. Today I'm here to talk to you about some of my marketing techniques. This is after you have written, edited and formatted your book and have both an e-book and print book ready for publication.
I am a self-published author. Human Blend was published in 2010 and was my education into what it means to be self-published. Being an author means so much more today that just putting your thoughts into words and letting your imagination tell a story. To be honest, that is the easy part. Today some established big house authors have taken on the responsibility of doing some self-promotion to drive up sales. With the addition of indie publishing, the field is wide open. Where do you begin? I asked that question two years ago and here is what I have learned.
The most logical place to start is with friends and family. They are your core support group and can help you spread the word. Social media is the next big step. Be sure you are on Facebook not only with a personal site, but with an author page as well. You will want a page that your readers can go to and get fast information on you and your books. A lot of authors also establish their own web-page and/or blog dedicated to their books. I did not go that route only because it would require more of my time, but if you are tech savvy or know someone who is, that is another big step. Twitter, of course, is another fine area in which to promote your books. Befriend other authors and gather tips from their posts on how to have a successful marketing strategy using Twitter. A big thing today is also creating a book trailer. This is also not something I ended up doing; it would require me to spend more money to hire someone, but again, if you know someone I highly recommend it. You can post the trailer on YouTube and link to if from all of your sites.
Establish yourself on other core websites such as Goodreads, Goggle+ and Linked In. These sites put you in touch with others in your field. Lots of authors are willing to share their expertise. On Goodreads there is also a multitude of readers. Join groups that reflect your genre and participate. All these ideas do not cost any money but they do require time and effort.
I attribute the success of my first book to the amazing bloggers of book review sites. To get started, either on your networked sites or just doing a search, find blogs that are accepting copies of your book in exchange for a review. Make sure the blog caters to the genre of your book. Read the review policies of each blogger for more info on what they accept. With new technologies, many bloggers are accepting e-books. This cuts down on your expense, but many do still ask for paperback versions. Also when selecting a blogger, look at the number of followers they have. I choose ones with at least 500; this means more readers will check out my book. Don't be afraid to give a new blog a chance too. I became friends with a reader who was just starting her own blog site and within a year she had over 1,000 followers. Great blogs grow fast.
Create bookmarks for your books. These are great calling cards. I have given them out whenever I have the chance. I’ve put them on supermarket bulletin boards and left them in banks, dry cleaners, and anywhere else that allowed me to leave some behind. Even a few left at a local coffee shop could garner you another sale. If you have gone the route of creating your own website, why not get other items to market such as coffee mugs and tee-shirts with your book cover on them? Always make sure to link to your book wherever you post.
Last but not least, my favorite of all marketing techniques is a book signing. If you have a paperback novel, check out your local independent bookshop and see if they will let you do a book signing. Most are very receptive to local authors. Also do not be afraid to get creative; your book signing does not have to be at a bookstore. Some authors get permission to hold signings at local landmarks like museums. If there is an event or fair coming to town, there is another great place to stumble upon new readers. I had to front the books for my signing, so if you go this route you may encounter that expense.
I hope you found some of these marketing tips helpful. I wish you all the best of luck following your dream.
Terminal Blend (Coming Summer 2012)
Post - June 29th, 2011
Every author I know has met and grappled with Point of View. Most of us start our writing careers having our readers hop from one character’s head to another’s, running the risk of confusing our readers. It’s a very common mistake made by new authors, and one that’s easy to spot and correct.
POINT OF VIEW...PICK YOUR POISON!
Point of View is a way for the reader to get inside a character’s head, to know what they are thinking, feeling, seeing and experiencing. There are three major ways to write point of view (POV): first person, second person and third person. All of them can be written in present or past tense, though past tense is usually the preferred method. The use of point of view must be consistent and appropriate for the story being told. While third person is the most widely used, first and second can be more personal.
The following short paragraphs demonstrate them in order. They are written in present tense, with past tense in parenthesis.
Pick a Tense and Stick with It!
1st: I walk(ed) through the store, looking for the perfect dress to wear tonight (that night). Most of them are (were) absolutely hideous, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in them. Well, I guess(ed) I would have to be dead to actually wear anything so ugly.
2nd: You walk(ed) through the store, looking for the perfect dress to wear tonight (that night). Most of them are (were) absolutely hideous, and you wouldn’t be caught dead in them. Well, you guess(ed) you would have to be dead to actually wear anything so ugly.
3rd: She walks (walked) through the store, looking for the perfect dress to wear tonight (that night). Most of them are (were) absolutely hideous, and she wouldn’t be caught dead in them. Well, she guesses (guessed) she would have to be dead to actually wear anything so ugly.
First Person Point of View
Though first person is used frequently in fiction, it limits the writer and reader to only view what is going on from the main character’s perspective. This is a good method to use in a mystery, when the writer doesn’t want anything revealed until the main character in the story discovers them. First person is also common with non-fiction, since that is from the writer’s point of view. It can read like someone's diary and help the reader relate more to that person.
Second Person POV
This POV is rare and probably the hardest to do for lengthy fiction. It also is limited to one person’s perspective, but it is useful when the writer wants the reader to feel like he or she is in the story. This is also a more personal way to write. The reader becomes the main character. The problem in writing this way is when the reader disagrees with what he or she is feeling in the story.
Third Person Point of View
Third person POV is the most popular, since more of the story can be told. It can be exclusively from the main character’s perspective, just like first and second person, but it also has the advantage of switching among many characters. Limited third person is from one character, whereas omniscient (or unlimited) third person is from all the characters points of view. The reader can glimpse more of the unfolding story as he or she goes along.
One POV Per Scene
Switching from one character’s POV to another must be done carefully, or head hopping can irritate the reader. It is best to stay with one character throughout the scene, and switch to another character during a scene change or a new chapter. The main thing to remember while writing POV is that when inside one character, the reader cannot know what is in the head of another character. This is a common mistake among writers. They are all guilty of it, since it’s such a hard writing aspect to master.
If you are in the hero’s head and he kissed the heroine, the following description of her cannot be used.
His touch turned her on, and she felt warmth between her legs.
The hero can’t know that, since he doesn’t see or feel it happening. A better way to do this from his perspective would be the following:
Her eyes fluttered shut, and a contented sigh escaped her lips as she went limp. He tightened his arms around her and felt a quiver run through her body. He smiled, realizing his touch turned her on.
Description is Key to Mastering POV
The second example not only stays with the hero, but it gives more descriptive content than the first sentence. Description draws the reader more into the story, furthering his or her enjoyment. It is ultimately up to the writer which POV is used. They all serve a different purpose.
For more help on how to use point of view, visit the following two sites:
Post - November 27th, 2011
by Marianne Morea, PRG President
DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE...
This month's blog is on hyperlinks. Hyperwhat? Hyperlinks...those little blue underlined words you see in the middle of articles, that when clicked, link you to other places on the web.
So? What about them?
I'll tell you...
If they end up attached to your manuscript, even in a hidden, innocuous way, they will wreak havoc in your digital formatting.
Like a parasite, they attach themselves to words or phrases in your manuscript, and you most likely won't realize it until it's too late. Trust me...I just went through the nightmare of cleaning up the mess they can cause.
If you're like most writers today, you use the internet to do research. You look up facts, double and triple check the sources, order books on historical topics or locations...all with the aim of giving your readers the most factually correct information you can within the fiction you create. This is where a hyperlink can attach itself without your even knowing it. All it takes is one cut and paste. It can be something as simple as cutting and pasting the proper name of a place or historical person, (even if it's just for the correct spelling), and BAM! Hyperlink. The source text doesn't even have to be blue...or underlined, to contain a hyperlink. That's what makes them so hard to catch.
So, what can they do to your manuscript?
How about missing words or even missing blocks of text, for one. In my manuscript, the entire second half of my book ended up underlined. The hyperlink was attached to the name of a town in Spain that I had gotten from a source article. One word caused a tremendous amount of trouble, and the problem wasn't detected until a reader emailed me. Even the master digital copy my publisher had didn't show the problems. It wasn't until the digital file was converted for Kindle and Nook that the problems became visible.
Needless to say, the hyperlink had embedded itself in the last half of the document, three layers deep. It took days of line by line reformatting to fix.
I have since emailed Microsoft, and found that removing a hyperlink when the manuscript is still in word format is the easiest way to handle things. Select all and hit CTRL+SHIFT+F9 and that should remove all hidden hyperlinks from your document.
I'm not sure how well that works, but I do know one thing. I will NEVER cut and paste a proper name from the Web...or anything else for that matter...again.
Readers are hard enough to come by and keep, without adding to things.
I hope this post helps some other unsuspecting author from making the same mistake I made.
All the best,
Post - September 1st, 2011
by Marianne Morea, PRG President
I recently came across a terrific website for tricks of the trade. It's http://www.suite101.com/. It's got all sorts of cool articles, and if you scroll down to Writing and Publishing, you just may find something useful. I did, and here it is...
IT'S ALL ABOUT KEEPING PACE....
Post - July 25th, 2011
by Regan Black, PRG Board Member
Unique Marketing Advantages of a Group Blog Tour Event
Authors usually think of a blog tour as a solo visit to a variety of websites, chatting with a blogger and their readers, and generally getting the word out about the new book. Think of it like a national book signing campaign, but you never leave your computer or smart phone (except to refill your coffee).
Saves time, expands your reach. It's an all-around good deal.
I've done these on my own and with the promotional guidance of a blog tour planner like The Bookish Snob. Having the planner meant a better outcome for me, but still much depends on the blogger's audience, and how well you can connect with them.
Recently (July 18-25) I participated in my second group blog tour event. Organized by the Indie Book Collective (IBC), this event involved twelve authors in various genres, not just paranormal romance authors.
Not only did this event expose a much wider audience to my latest urban fantasy novel, Tracking Shadows, the teamwork involved with cross promotion was fun and a real energy boost for all of us. It wasn't just one voice on the web, shouting out "Hey look! A new book!" it was all of us working together and having a great time doing it.
As each author linked to the sites before and after like a daisy chain, readers were able to visit all twelve authors over four days and collect at least one eBook at every site, plus enter for special author goodie bags and the grand prize courtesy of the IBC: a kindle.
By reading an author's featured post and hop to supporting book review sites, readers could better connect with that author, building a bond that's invaluable in the current market, regardless of how you're published.
Events like these rely on excellent organization, a supportive network of blog book reviewers, and a team of dedicated authors. Everyone benefits when authors are committed to the promotion of not only the event, but to interacting and engaging with each other and the visiting readers in 'real time' during the event.
Am I exhausted after the extended blog tour? Did it cut into my writing time? Sure, on both counts, but if readers don't know you've written a book, how can they become life-long fans? And maybe my fingers are a bit weary, but it was so much fun chatting with readers about everything from sugar and caffeine addictions, to the best super power for flirting (you really had to be there).
It was wonderful to work with the fantastic organizers at the IBC and I made new friends among the team of authors. Best of all, I met amazing readers through the exchange of comments during the blog tour. Positive word of mouth advertising is the best marketing tool available for authors of paranormal romance novels or any other genre!
Regan Black writes action packed paranormal and urban fantasy novels so readers can savor a fantastic escape from the daily grind. You can find her latest novel, Tracking Shadows, along with her other works online, wherever eBooks and paperbacks are sold. Keep up with Regan at ReganBlack.com, on twitter @ReganBlack, Facebook, and Goodreads.
Proper links for reference:
Tracking Shadows buy link on Amazon:
Facebook Fan page: http://tinyurl.com/regan-fans
Post - June 11th, 2011
by Marianne Morea, PRG President
Rejection and Reflection...
The two 'Rs' of a Writer's Reality.