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Friday, May 19, 2006

Late Start and My Thoughts on POV

I way overslept this morning. Kind of. I was up late last night, woke up at 5am and I was like, no way! But it took me forever to fall back asleep and it was after 9:30 when I woke up again. That sucks since I wanted an earlier start than this! Enough about that, though, and on to the subject for the day. (Yes, I actually have one.) Point of view.

The hits I take on my stories that absolutely drive me batty are when people complain because I did point of view (POV) right. This is the one time I'd love to argue with the person saying things, but I never do--even if I am gnashing my teeth over it.

Like in Ravyn's Flight where a reviewer said the villain was nothing but a feral rogue. Um, excuse me, I'm never in his POV, and from the characters' viewpoints that I am in, he is a feral killer. None of them are going to stop and look for his redeeming qualities.

If you're wondering where this topic came from, it has to do with the art sheet I filled out the other day and the ages of Ryne and Deke. It reminded me of a blogger (Back before I got smart and stopped googling my name) who spent a great deal of time talking about how ridiculous it was to make the five year age gap between Jake and Cai an issue and a point of conflict in The Power of Two. After all, in her eyes, the gap was nothing.

And I agree, five years isn't that much, but in the Jake's eyes it was one hell of a big difference. As he saw it, Cai was a very sheltered 21 year old and he was a very savvy 26-year-old Special Forces officer who'd been on his own since the age of 18 and who had been in combat. In his mind, the age gap wasn't so much years, but experience. In fact, he even says that in the book: It's not the years, it's the miles.

So as I'm filling out the art sheet, it dawns on me that the age gap between Ryne and Deke is 7 years. It's not mentioned even once in the book because it's simply not an issue for either one of them. Ryne is 27 and a troubleshooter for a society of magic users. She's been at war with the dark forces for most of her life since training began for her at the age of 12. She's intense and she's faced hell--a far cry from Cai.

Point of view and characterization. The reader can only know/feel what the POV characters know and feel. That's how it's supposed to be.

It would be totally out of character for Ravyn to think about the bad guy (who's recently killed 19 of her friends) and say, Gee, he's killing all these people, but maybe he saves animals from drowning--he can't be all bad. No! In Ravyn's eyes, he is evil and horrible and feral. Maybe he does save animals from drowning, but she doesn't care! That's the bottom line. She doesn't care. All she cares about is what he did to her friends and others.

In Jake's eyes, the five year span was huge because of the difference in their life experiences and it was something he thought about, something he worried about. To not address it, would be to do an injustice to characterization and to censor his POV.

I also took hits from a reviewer because Cai and Jake didn't say this or didn't do that. Hey, I'm in my character's heads. If they don't care about something and aren't thinking about it, it becomes contrived if I try to force it in there because someone else believes they should be concerned about it.

Point of view and characterization. I've gotten all kinds of compliments about how real my characters feel and I believe that's because I don't force things into their minds/mouths that they aren't interested in and I don't censor their thoughts/dialogue because it's something I don't feel comfortable with.

Ryne has some real ugly stuff in her past--it made me uncomfortable--but I wrote it anyway because it's part of who she is today. If she never brought it up, I wouldn't have addressed it, but she did tell me about it, and once she did, I discovered it was one of the driving forces in her interaction with the hero (and others).

Mika's overt sexuality made me uncomfortable too. (Through a Crimson Veil) She said and did things that left me feeling embarrassed and thinking, OMG, my mom is going to read this book. I put it all in there anyway. It's who Mika is.

Okay, I think I'm done. Bottom line, be true to the characters and their POV. Now I need to get moving. Oversleeping like this really threw me off.