Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Seeing the World Through New Eyes

One of the things I'm always striving to do is to continue growing as a writer. 

I've been burned by a few bestselling authors who, after they achieved fame and fortune, stopped growing as writers.  (They certainly seemed to think they didn't need an editor anymore, given the length of some of their tomes.)  It's like when an actor wins an Academy Award and then makes Ghost Rider.

So one of the challenges I've given myself is to introduce a new point-of-view (POV) character in book two of my trilogy.

It's freaking hard.

I've been writing my main character for three years.  I've been inside her head, lived in her skin, seen the world through her eyes, for three years.  So now, to jump into another character's head, and see the world through her eyes, is a pretty monumental task.

This is a character who plays a pretty important supporting role in WINTER FALLS.  So I knew that she was an intriguing character.  When I plotted out book two, I gave her a bigger role, and as I looked at some of the scenes, I realized that they would just be so much better from her POV.

So I did a little exercise.  I wrote a scene - just a little free-writing - from her POV to see if I could slip into it.  I wouldn't say her voice came completely naturally to me, but I could hear it in my head, which is a good sign.  She's a lot tougher, more jaded and sarcastic than my MC, and writing in her POV is kinda fun.  She swears...a lot.  And it feels a little naughty, like I'm cheating on my MC.  In a good way.

For the last week, I've been working in her POV.  Some of it has come out way too similar to my MC.  I've had to stop and ask myself, "Would she really say that?  Or would she just give them the finger and walk away?"

I'm still not 100% certain that I'll use her POV in the book, and I have yet to run this whole idea by my editor anyway.  But even if I don't use it, at least I'll have stretched myself by dipping into her head.  At the very least, I'll have a better handle on this character, and that's always a good thing.

So what about you?  What are you doing to stretch yourself as a writer as you start your next WIP?


  1. I hear what you're saying, Nicole. We're still new to this game and there's still SO much to learn. The best writers never stop learning. For that matter, the best people in any field never stop learning.

  2. Nicole, that's such a great exercise, and if you end up doing a double POV for the sequel, all the better! I toyed around with the same concept, but I was too scared to try it. Fear is such a paralyzing emotion. But I like the idea of doing a free write, if only to delve more deeply into my characters. Inspiring post!

  3. Eve, I'm glad I inspired you! Try it out! You don't have to use it, or even show anyone, so you have nothing to lose!

  4. I really love it when a new character starts coming together for me. But I think it's so smart that you're constantly asking what she would really do. Something that drives me nuts in movies is when a character does something because the writers needed to ratchet up the tension but it doesn't come from an organic place of who that character really is. Makes me nuts!