Characters that Speak, Not the Author

As I've worked on my editing rounds from my YA Viking book, I am in the heads of three of the older sisters, as it is told in 3 points of view. Recently, my CP pointed out something to me that I had not even REALIZED I was doing - not speaking from my character's view.

For instance, there were a few times when I was writing as the author, as if I was in heaven and showing the angels what was happening, rather than them looking at it from the character's

perspective. I wondered then how many times throughout the book I had done this. It's easy not to catch because you will likely get so caught up in the story you don't see it or realize you're even doing it. You really have to proactively search for it. But IT IS THERE! Like a snake in the grass - oh my gosh it is there!!

Maybe this is hard to understand what exactly I mean, but maybe a few "for instances" will be helpful.

The author's head: The land was green and rich, lively and serene with birds flying wildly.
The character's head: Lush and lively land covered the earth for miles, more than Amy could imagine or had ever seen. The birds flew wild, much like the ones in her dreams, making her heart pulse with excitement.

The author's head: He wore a beaded necklace, sneakers, and board shorts like a surfer or a skater.
The character's head: His beaded necklace, sneakers, and board shorts made Amy swoon. There was nothing more than a skater slash surfer look that teased her senses, and blushed her cheeks quick.

The most important part of extracting and re-writing these areas, is to really think like the character. See it from their eyes and emotions. We normally see things and pin it to something else in our past, or judge it in some way. It is human nature, and if your character has any human or humanistic qualities, ensure they do the same! It definitely makes them relatable to the reader!

READS THIS WEEK:  AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White, a series opener with the premise of what Vlad the Impaler would be like if female. The story is very gritty and I enjoyed it! LGBTQ friendly. THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, a standalone turned movie, with the premise of social/racial injustice. Other than the amount of cussing (which is part of the reason I put it down and then later gave it a 2nd chance), it really does speak out and speak up.

READING NOW: A NIGHT DIVIDED by Jennifer Nielsen, LONG WAY DOWN by Jason Reynolds. I have a couple library and home books to figure out which to start first as I generally read 2-3 books at a time. It's a toss up between SOULMATED, THE LAST NAMASARA, and CITY OF SAINTS AND THIEVES.

MOVIES WATCHED: KING ARTHUR - it was really good, and I loved how they did the talking while showing it already being done. You will have to see the movie to understand what I mean.THE SHACK - my heart cried a million times over just like when I read the book.

Love your guts,



Natalie Aguirre said…
Those were great examples for staying in POV. Thanks. I have to watch for that too.

And loved seeing what you are reading. I love Jennifer Nielsen. I've been reading more adult but getting back into MG and YA. Reading Whichwood now. It's pretty good but odd writing. Hope you're going to continue blogging and tell us what you're reading and writing.
Those are excellent examples of speaking from a character's point rather than the author. I bet we all do that without realizing it.
I reviewed King Arthur today! I thought it was a lot of fun.
L. Diane Wolfe said…
I know I'm guilty of doing that many times. That was good of your CP to catch it.
Great illustrations of something that slips through too often.
Good luck in tracking yours down - and doesn't the story benefit when you do?
My daughter love And I Darken and wanted me to read it. I couldn't get into it because I didn't like the main character. I did love the story idea though. I find things like you're talking about usually in my second drafts. There are a lot of books I read where the writer does that, including many 'big' name authors.
Pat Hatt said…
I'm sure guilty of it indeed, never even think of it. I will now though as away I go.
The Silver Fox said…
That was an incredibly astute piece of advice! I echo the comments of those above who say they've rarely if ever considered this.
Crystal Collier said…
I've always felt that writing in character is one part acting, one part writing. Thank goodness for a strong drama background, eh?
Oh, wow, love your examples. Really shows how much of a difference staying inside your character's head can make!
It's definitely a challenge to write from a different point of view, especially because as writers we're often immersed in our own thoughts and ways of seeing the world. I've never been able to write a story from three different points of view, so hats off to you for doing it. :)
DMS said…
The examples you gave were great and really got the point across.

I haven't read or seen THE SHACK- but I do remember hearing good things about the book. :)


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