Points of View by Jen Silver (plus 2 FREE ebooks)

Congratulations to Ingrid and Kim Dyke! They are the winners of this drawing!


Look! Jen Silver stopped by today to share the news of her newest release, Deuce, and to give away two ebook copies here at Women and Words. Drop a comment in the space below and I’ll draw the winners on Friday April 5.

Good luck!


When starting work on a new story, I have to make decisions on which characters will have a point of view. Obviously the two main characters in a romance are going to be prominent. But I don’t seem to be able to write two-handers. There are always other characters that I feel should have a voice…sometimes six or seven.

Is this confusing for readers? I do try to make it clear which head I’m in with scene breaks – to avoid the dreaded head-hop. Signposting is important when changing points of view.

Deuce_cover1

With my latest book, Deuce, I had a dilemma about introducing the POV of a character who is introduced in the prologue but doesn’t come into the story until the second part, about half way through. She’s been away for twenty-three years, having lost her memory (not a spoiler…it’s in the blurb) and has been living on the Faroe Islands with a different name. It wasn’t until I started writing her POV in first person that I was able to really get inside her head.

seascapeThis is the first time I’ve done an extended first person narrative. It was quite liberating in a way. And this is how it happened.

I started writing the first chapter from the point of view of Jay Reid, an ex-professional tennis player. She’s now fifty years old and engaged to be married. However, she’s never completely let go of the loss of her first love, Charlotte. So the story was developing nicely with points of view from Jay and a few other characters with the main ones being Jay’s fiancée Amanda, and Tess who finds out she’s Charlotte’s daughter, having grown up knowing she was adopted but not who her birth mother was.

When I wanted to reintroduce Charlotte into the story, I found that third person just wasn’t working. So I decided to experiment with first person and the words started to flow. And although my publisher thought this worked, they did make a suggestion that I should flag this up at the beginning so that readers wouldn’t be confused by the changes in the narrative with one character in first person and the others in third.

This is the Prologue with the addition of the first and last paragraphs:

I recall that the day started as many other days had for Katrin Nielsen, and I watch it now like a movie reel unfurling in my mind…

Once she had seen Konrad off to his morning lessons, Katrin washed their breakfast dishes and tied her hair back to stop it blowing across her face on the short walk to the library, such as it was; a grand name for the single-room turf-roofed hut. She was looking forward to opening the new shipment of books that had arrived from Copenhagen the day before. The books would need to be covered and catalogued but that was a job she enjoyed.

She sniffed the air when she left her work to go home at lunchtime. Only ten of the new books had been processed. Katrin always stretched the job out to make the most of the brief respite from the regular daily chore of gutting fish from the night trawlers’ catches.

Konrad came racing up the path towards her before she reached their house. She loved the way he moved. Fourteen years old and all long limbs and awkwardness. He reminded her of someone she’d once known. A flicker of recognition that came and went like a lighthouse beam piercing the night.

“Mamma. Come. There’s a seal on the sand. It’s stranded.”

Katrin gathered her coat closer to her body and followed her son down the winding path to the small strip of beach that was only visible at low tide. A few of her neighbours were already there standing around the large mammal lying on its side.

“Is it ill?” she heard one of them ask.

Katrin moved closer until she could see the creature clearly. “No. It’s not ill. Seals do this from time to time. Haul out so they can rest, digest a big meal. She will rejoin the sea on the next incoming tide.”

Konrad was staring at her open-mouthed, as was her nearest neighbour, Lars. She looked past them, past the recumbent seal, to the waves beginning the cycle of return to the shore. Her mind left them there, reverberations in her head, the swell of the sea, frantic shouts, holding on and holding on, wet, cold, pulling and pushing, falling into darkness….

“Mamma!” A boy’s anxious face came into focus.

“What?”

“Are you okay? You said something now in a foreign language. About the seal.”

“It will be okay. It’s resting.”

As I turned away and walked back up the steep path, so many images rushed through my thoughts—faces, and one in particular. A name. Jay. Where was she? I had to get back to Jay and my baby. A small bundle in my arms, tiny fist curling and uncurling…and one thought gained prominence as I reached the cliff top…I am Charlotte Summersbridge.

And that was the beginning – giving Charlotte her own voice. I think it worked and feedback from readers and reviewers so far has confirmed this. But if you have a point of view about points of view, I would love to know.

Note: the cover of the book features the statue of Kópakonan—the seal wife—standing on the shore at Mikladalur, a village on the Faroe island of Kalsoy. The legend doesn’t have a happy ending, but my story does.

colin

PS: When I’m stuck for ideas, I look to Colin the

Chameleon for inspiration. He makes me smile and reminds me that everything can change.

Thank you, once again, Women and Words for letting me take up a guest post. Please leave a comment here if you want to be entered in the draw for the ebook giveaway.


signpostAfter retiring from full-time work, Jen thought she would spend her days playing golf, shooting arrows, reading, and enjoying quality time with her wife (not necessarily in that order). Instead she started writing and Affinity Rainbow Publications published her debut novel, Starting Over, in 2014. Jen now has nine published novels to her name, a number of short stories, and not as much time as she thought for other activities.

For the characters in Jen’s stories, life definitely begins at forty, and older, as they continue to discover and enjoy their appetites for adventure and romance.

 

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28 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing some of the thought processes you went through to establish your points of view. I love hearing another author’s perspective on this. You’re right, it is common in romance to have at least two. I write primarily lesfic mysteries with romantic elements and I’ve been taken to task by more mainstream readers for having multiple points of view in those, as it being confusing. I too try to clearly define when I’m changing heads, so to speak, but I find I still can’t please everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Point of view and head hopping has been my biggest challenge as a writer. Kinda nice to see a published, successful author has those problems too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Colin seems like the perfect mascot for writing and for life in general.
    Congrats on your newest book; the story sounds intriguing.

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  4. I appreciate you explaining the thought process behind developing and introducing the characters in your book. I love stories with fully fleshed out characters. It is interesting how you allow the characters to have a voice and become real. I loved the blurb and plan on reading this book. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. As an older reader (much, much older since I turned 38 for the 38th time just yesterday) I am really looking forward to reading this one. Older women fascinate me (hmmm, wonder why?).

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  6. It is always so nice to find authors who might cater to young(or immature?) 52 year old women, also, I fucking LOVE Colin the Chameleon. Also, I’m drinking cocktails right now so YAY.

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  7. Typical me, I headed over to go read the legend of Kópakonan before even reaching the end of the mail.

    It was a rather horrifying story o_O but the statue is beautiful. Awesome location for it, too

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  8. Jen,
    Thanks for the awesome words of advice. How many POV is a challenge, at times, and definitely deciding which one to use. Knowing you succeeded in a mix is exciting and rewarding. Best of writing to you.

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  9. What a delightful blog! Thank you for the excellent explanation of POV, and how and why you used it in this story. It sounds like a wonderful journey, and one I look forward to taking with the author .and the characters. I love the concept that like begins at forty. One of my favorite aunties always says that our best years begin at forty. It seems true!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Really interesting blog. Lovely to hear about the thoughts, care and attention that has been put into writing this novel.

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