The sun is moving farther and farther north now, sinking over different mountain ranges. Funny to think that in only two months it will begin its journey back again, just as summer really hits its stride.
I know, of course, this is just my point of view – POV, in writer lingo. The sun doesn’t travel north and south. I am the one moving, tilting back and forth on my planetary post, watching the sun from different angles. The sun is the fixed point of our little dance. We all know that huge battles have been fought over this very idea.
It’s funny to think of it this way, but the battle between the Catholic and Copernican line of thinking was all about POV. Who, exactly, is the center of our story?
As an essayist, I started out writing in first person POV. The essays described my experiences in the world, thus they were all about me. I wrote to explain my perception. Very simple. When I wrote my first novel, Obsidian, I naturally wrote it, as was my habit, in first person POV.
A number of judges reading it commented that I was brave to try first person, since it’s so difficult, but I did it well. Others tell me they categorically refuse to read anything in first person.
Sterling, the new novel, came out in third person, as did my little erotic novella for Loose Id. (Speaking of which, the official title will be “Love Lies Bleeding,” which I like a whole bunch. The heroine’s name is Amarantha and there are plays on her name throughout.) It’s fun to play with third person. I suddenly feel not only omniscient, but omnipotent.
Turns out not so much. KAK, who is my official CP (critique partner) now, has been beating me up for my POV slips. (Never mind that she knows WAY too much about Meatloaf’s musical history, if you check out her blog. She’s otherwise a reasonably sane person.) I don’t get to be omniscient at all, which kind of burns my ass because it makes me want to flounce back to first person. Then she tells me that I can’t introduce another character’s POV in Chapter 10. I thought it was kind of a brilliant stroke, but no.
“You’re trying to make him the third star of the show,” she says. “And he can’t be.”
There’s a fine line between genius and disaster, I suppose. The other thing I’m thinking? I need to learn the rules before I break them. Like a painter must first learn to show perfect perspective before finding subtle ways to distort it to make a point, I need to know where my third person POVs are before I do wacky things with them.
Alas. Takes all the fun out of it.
I can see her point, too. There can only be one sun at a time. I’m already alternating chapters between two people – each the star of their own story. If I want to bring in more, then the center of the story moves somewhere else.
At least no one gets executed if I change my mind.