"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Monday, June 01, 2009

Multiple POVs and The Library of Congress

I've started my Monday morning with Kung Fu, Carrot Juice, and Coffee. Does life get any better? And I have new A/C in my car (finally). And a new timing belt, water pump, shocks, some other hose, inspection, and oil change. I think the car should fly for the money I spent. But as long as it blows cold air, I'm not complaining.
Texas with no A/C is brutal.

Join National Give your Girlfriend a Book Day (June 15th, but you can and should join now). Because giving books is the coolest gift you can give, right?


My new WIP seems to be screaming two POVs. For me, this is a new experience in writing. I've read some fantastic multiple POV books this year including:
The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King,
The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante, and
Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith.
In all three of these cases, it totally worked for me. I felt engaged in both main character's stories and not bumped around back and forth. But I've yet to try it myself.

I need to at least give it a shot. Why you might ask? I was actually doing my character worksheets and one of the main characters was so interesting, he seemed to be asking to have his say also. So what the heck. It's not like I can't change it if it doesn't work, right?

Has anyone has multiple POV experience? Suggestions? Have any good book recommendations? All appreciated!


In other news, I'm off to DC in a few weeks for the yearly research trip (and got great deals on the flights, BTW). Okay, I grew up there, and my parents live there, but there are just so many cool things to do and see and having kids to haul along and see them all is priceless.
I've yet to see the Library of Congress, so I'm thinking this will make the list. Is it kid friendly? (For reference here, the Smithsonian Art Museum most definitely was NOT kid friendly. Natural History and Air and Space—totally kid friendly).
And this year we're having a family cookout for the Fourth of July in Central Pennsylvania. ATV anyone?

Okay, off to reread last nights 700 words I managed to write, take a shower, and do whatever else comes next on the list.

Happy Monday!


beth said...

My current WIP is from two POVs....hope it works!!

As for a good suggestion on multiple POVs: Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaus trilogy is not only hilarious but does wonders with creating two distinct multiple POVs (voices are spot on for it, and the plot's nothing to sneeze at, either)

Christine M said...

Sounds like your week is off to a good start.

PJ Hoover said...

Ooh, Beth. So cool! And I read the first two JS books, but that was a couple years ago!

Yes, Chris. A great start!

Miriam S.Forster said...

Dang it! I had a good suggestion, but now I can't remember any names. It's a YA fantasy trilogy, and every book is told from the perspective of two of the characters. BUT there's a different set of POV characters for each book, which I thought was interesting.

(Also the Five Ancestors series develops into a multiple POV as you read further into it.)

I haven't done multiple POV yet. My current WIP is all about me learning how to write first person present tense. (Which is also kinda scary...)

Solvang Sherrie said...

I love books with multiple POV, especially when the author shows how the characters interpretation of an event differ. The Artemis Fowl books use both Artemis and Holly's POVs, sometime others as well. But like you, I've never tried writing that way.

Trisha Pearson said...

I'm glad your week is off to a great start! Yay for A/C and writing 700 words on a Sunday night!

I enjoy reading books with multiple POVs, but I haven't tried it yet. My current WIP is learning to write in 3rd person (I ALWAYS do 1st).

Good luck!

T. Anne said...

Carrot juice? That's how I start my day, or end it, or both. I love my juicer!
BTW I'm totally jealous of your DC trip. Library of congress would be a huge thrill.

PJ Hoover said...

Oh, if you think of it, let me know, Miriam. My latest was first person present which I found I loved writing in.

Me, too, Sherrie! That is hopefully what I'll be able to accomplish!

So interesting, Trisha that you normally do first and are leaning toward third. I started in third and moved to first. At some point, I'll go back to third for something, but I'm not sure what!

Carrot juice rocks, T. Anne! I bought it today but may just get in the habit of making it each morning.
And I'm super psyched about the LOC!

Thanks for visiting.

Kimberly Derting said...

Hey PJ, I love giving other characters a voice and seeing where they take the story! In fact, in my most recent submission my (our) agent asked for more POVs, so it ended up being *multiple* POV. I think the key is making sure that they each "sound" different in the way they view things (similar to the way you do dialogue, so everyone doesn't sound the same).

Good luck!!!

Lady Glamis said...

Oh, DC sounds so fun! I enjoyed it so much when I went.

Multiple POVs. Yikes. Yeah, I usually always deal with multiple POVs. It's just how I think and work. I love multiple stories and plot lines and threads. I would be so bored just telling it with one POV! Not that I don't like one POV in stories I read.

There's so many ways to do POV, with the limited and omniscient angles, etc. I say just go for it! Experiment. You read enough stuff that you should know what works and what doesn't for what you're doing. :)

Jason said...

Hey, June 15th, eh? I'll have to try to scrape some money together by then.

I don't know if you're a fan of Stephen King, but I know a ton of his books are from multiple points of view.

Keri Mikulski said...

Happy Monday!!

Great stuff, PJ! I love how you push yourself. Good luck with multiple POVs. Lauren Barnholdt wrote a goodie two - TWO WAY STREET. She nailed the male voice.

Kelly H-Y said...

Yay for A/C! :-) I can't wait to hear even more about your new WIP as you get further ... good luck with the two POVs! Sounds like you've got a great summer schedule started (and healthy ... with the Kung Fu and carrot juice)!! :-)

PJ Hoover said...

Great to hear, Kimberly! Or maybe not if you weren't wanting to revise that much :)

I'm really excited to play around with it, Michelle! And I'm not trying to rush it which is nice.

It's been a long time since I've read any Stephen King, Jason, but you're right! I totally forgot. He's like the master!

Thanks for the suggestion, Keri! A male POV is exactly what I need!

Thanks, Kelly! Luckily I love carrot juice, and my daughter suggested it! I'll try to update on my writing process this time around because it is fun!

Thanks for visiting!

Danyelle said...

I generally have about 4 POVs. The only advice I can give is to make sure they each have their own voices so the POVs are distinct from one another.

If you're doing 2, the Hero and Rogue series by Hilari Bell does a good job at keeping distinct voices, and the POVs alternate by chapter.

Good luck with your WIP and have fun on your trip!

Vivian said...

Have fun writing this new story! Can't wait to see what it's all about. Good luck!

Lemonade Mouth by Mark Peter Hughes
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

C.R. Evers said...

I think Neal Shusterman is the King of multiple POV. I think everything he writes is multiple POV and it's so seamless.

Also Skin Hunger by Kathleen Duey has 2 POV's and is also done really well.

Have fun in DC!!!!

PJ Hoover said...

Wow, Danyelle! Four POVs. That is really impressive. The best thing is knowing what works for you! Thanks for the book suggestion!

Let's hope it's worth reading when I get to that point, Vivian! If so, you'll hear about it. If not, you won't :)
And thanks for the recommendations!

I read Skin Hunger and thought the POVs were interesting and done well, Christy. And you're right about Neil Shusterman. It is done seamlessly. This would be nice!

Anonymous said...

I haven't ever played with multiple POVs, but I agree there are some really good books out there doing just that.

I'm playing with present tense for the first time, so I figure that's MY big challenge!

Good luck. Go for it and see what happens!

And, if you haven't read The True Meaning of Smekday, you MUST, if only for the scene where J.Lo fixes Gratuity's car. (Well, REALLY, for the whole fantastic book, but--for you--especially for this scene.)

Sheri said...

PJ - another great book with shifting POVs is Schooled by Gordon Korman. It is a fast read, so it is a must recommendation. It tells the story from several POVs but it is done so well. It feels like you are watching an interview but in a really cool, Indie film sort of way.

PJ Hoover said...

I've heard so much about Smekday, Becky. I'll look at it next time I'm at the bookstore. Car repairs can be so amusing!

Oooh, another great recommendation, Sheri! Thanks! And welcome back!

Robyn said...

Mmmm, carrot juice takes me back to my hippie days. Drank it all of the time. Not so much these days, but I think I'll make some. Thanks for helping me to remember. :)

Anonymous said...

When I work in multiple POVS, one of the most interesting choices I find I need to make is where to overlap plot points (to show different views on the same event) and where they diverge and have different, unshared experiences.

Definitely go with it -- trust your characters, they will lead you true!

Kelly said...

You had a very accomplished Monday! Good luck on your newest WIP!!

PJ Hoover said...

I know, Robyn! Here it is the next morning, and I want more carrot juice!!!!!

Devon, this is excellent advice and just what I was contemplating last night. Thank you so much!

Thanks, Kelly! I'm excited to work on the new WIP which makes a world of difference!

Angela said...

How about Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

As a reader, I expect two things of multiple POV. It must not make me stop reading to think, "Whose head am I in now?" and the characters whose heads I can be in must never withold information that they obviously know and then the author uses later as a surprise. Major turnoff to me if the author does that.
But if it is done smoothly, it can add dimension to a story.
As a writer (with limited fiction chops) I found it really useful last year. I was working on a project, currently on the shelf, when I decided to experiment by entering the antagonist's POV. The whole story became more layered. I definitely intend to go back to that project. My current one is singular POV.
I agree with Beth that Stroud's Bartimaus is superb. The title character has a great voice and so different from the kid.

Carrie Harris said...

You didn't have the kung fu, carrot juice, and coffee together, did you? Because that would be messy.

I'm never had the courage to tackle multiple POVs. Good luck with it!

lynn said...

good luck with the two POVs; it's not something I've attempted yet (except for a very clumsy early novel that I only got 30k words into).

And make sure to go to the Butterfly Exhibit at the Natural History Museum--on Tuesday's it's free!

PJ Hoover said...

OMG, Angela, I totally forgot about Wicked Lovely, but that one is perfect! I'll pick it back up!

So funny, Tricia (nice name, BTW) because as I was writing I realized that multiple POVs certainly do away with the big reveal. But I think for me this will be a a good thing as I always think there's going to be some big reveal and there never really is.

That would be messy, Carrie, but we Kung Fu masters aren't scared of a little mess! And thanks!

Thanks for the butterfly exhibit suggestion, Lynn! I'll slot a Tuesday for just that!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi PJ,
Thanks for liking my name. It's new. I tried PJ (!) and I've always been Pat but a quick look around the internet told me those two with my last name put me in competition with multiple pubs, frat boys and other writers. So I lopped the Pa off my name and became Tricia. I feel a wee bit off-balance. Thanks for dropping by my blog. :-))

adrienne said...

I would love to take a trip to DC! I am jealous.

PJ Hoover said...

LOL, Tricia! I go by Tricia but my mom has gone by Pat and Patty her whole life!

I love DC, Adrienne! It's one of the best places to visit over and over again.

Shelli said...

DC will be so fun!

PJ Hoover said...

I'm so psyched, Shelli! And congrats on your agent!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for replying to my post - I love fantasy and sci fi too! I'm such a nerd. Indeed, any true nerd would have to read the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. (You must have read it!).

It also has a touch of POV's to it, at least in the parts where the protagonist is nowhere to be seen... and yes, please do write some more tips and idea's for writers like myself. Its always best to have a words of wisdom (good pun, no?) from a professional.

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha. OK so I just found the writer's downloads (very good), and more on the book - which I have to say really interested me, in a 'wow! this may be a very enjoyable read for an adult too'!

Have to say I think you're very talented from what I can make out from the blog-type writing, which usually is never in the challenging novel-like difficulty.

All that schooling, I have to say though I'm heading to university I never imagined being as educated as you and then scrapping it to write. But that's probably what I'll do, ha.



PJ Hoover said...

I've totally read Hitchhiker's Guide, Bethanie! More than once :)
Thanks for all the nice words! I do need to try to put in more writing thoughts, and it's nice because trying new things like the POVs really help me stop and think about things.

Christina Farley said...

I did 2 POV in my first novel. It was tricky and I think it each POV's voice could have been stronger. But I think that in books with multiple POV's I have a harder time identifing with the MC. It's not like I don't like the story, it's just that as soon as I get close to one character, I have to jump.

PJ Hoover said...

Great advice, Christina! Yes, I need to remember not to jump from person to person too quickly. That would make it hard to get too close.