Saturday, May 03, 2008

Counting Down to Hidden Fire Day 3

What I'm reading: The Enemy by Lee Child

Point of View. What is it? Does it matter?

Deciding who's telling the story, or even a scene, is one of the most important aspects of writing. I know it was my first lesson. At the time I was clueless. When I starting writing Hidden Fire, I began in Randy's head. Then I rewrote it in Sarah's.

First - from Randy's Point of View

"Did you enjoy the pie, Detective Detweiler?" Randy took his eyes off Sarah long enough to acknowledge the waiter's comment.

"Very much, Tony. Thanks." Tony refilled Randy's coffee cup and whisked away the empty plate. Randy's eyes returned to Sarah, who was still working on her dessert, doing his best to maintain a casual expression.

She brought the spoon, loaded with chocolate mousse, to her lips. Under the table, her toes found the cuff of his pants and inched their way up his calf. Damn, she'd been wearing shoes when they'd come in. Sensible work pumps. Randy imagined her toes, nails polished in demure pink, a silver ring on the second toe, continuing north. He clenched his jaw, glancing around the restaurant, certain everyone could tell he'd been out of town and womanless for weeks. No, not womanless. Sarahless. There had been plenty of women in San Francisco, but not one of them appealed to him the way the woman sitting across the booth in a poorly lit small-town restaurant did.

Even in the dim light, he saw the splash of freckles across her nose and cheeks. Her stone blue eyes reflected the glimmer of the standard restaurant candle-in-a-jar on the table.

To the casual onlooker, Sarah Tucker appeared to be a demure businesswoman, looking exactly like a woman who spent her days running a small gift boutique. But over the past few months, he'd gotten to know the other side—the warm, sensuous side—of one of Pine Hills' shopkeepers.

She wore a navy-blue blazer over a pale blue silk blouse. Beneath the table, her practical pants hid what he knew was a pair of attractive, well-shaped legs. He'd already noticed the absence of a panty line and wondered what he'd find when he slipped her slacks over her hips.

The mousse-laden spoon bobbed in front of her mouth. With her free hand, Sarah fingered the pearl button at her neck.

"It's warm in here, isn't it?" One button, then a second, slipped through its hole, revealing the tiniest glimpse of the swell of her breasts. He leaned forward, catching a hint of lace.

"You're killing me," he whispered.

Her tongue wrapped around the mousse. Her eyes closed. She sighed.

He shifted in his seat. "You're going to finish that, aren't you?" he asked.

Without opening her eyes, she said, "Every bite. It's chocolate. Some things shouldn't be rushed."

And now, the same scene from Sarah's Point of View

Under the table, Sarah’s toes found the cuff of Randy’s pants and inched their way up his calf, the coarse hair tickling her foot. His eyes widened, his eyebrows arched and the standard restaurant candle-in-a-jar caught the hazel flecks in his otherwise brown eyes. He brushed a lock of hair from his forehead, but it flopped back the way it always did.

She smiled at the hovering waiter, placed her hand over her empty coffee cup and shook her head. No more, Tony. Thanks.”

Tony refilled Randy’s coffee cup and whisked away his empty pie plate. Randy’s eyes returned to Sarah, moving between her dessert and her face. He smiled, but she could sense his impatience. She continued her torment by dipping her spoon into the chocolate mousse in front of her. Slowly, carefully, she filled the spoon with the rich delight.

His call had surprised her yesterday, when he announced he’d be coming back from San Francisco a day early. She wriggled her toes higher up his leg, trying not to laugh as he squirmed. She’d chosen her outfit very carefully this morning. Demure didn’t begin to cover it. Prim? Prissy? That was closer. Navy blue slacks, a pale blue silk blouse buttoned to the neck and a navy blazer. Not quite a suit, but close enough. Of course, the thong beneath the slacks and the lace demi-bra under the blouse were anything but prissy. She’d sensed Randy’s eyes on her behind as they walked up the steps to the restaurant. And maybe his hand had slipped a little lower than the small of her back as he’d guided her to their booth.

She poised the mousse-laden spoon in front of her mouth, parting her lips a fraction. With her other hand, she fingered the pearl button at her neck.

“It’s warm in here, isn’t it?” One button, then a second, slipped through its hole. Randy leaned forward.

“You’re killing me,” he whispered.

Her tongue wrapped around the mousse. Her eyes closed. She sighed.

“You’re going to finish that, aren’t you?” he asked, resignation in his tone.

Without opening her eyes, she said, “Every bite.”

He blew out a long, slow breath.

She met his gaze and smiled at his obvious annoyance. “It’s chocolate. Some things shouldn’t be rushed.”

Can you see the difference? Which works better, and why?


Gillian Layne said...

I can't believe I've never done this with my own work. What an interesting exercise!

I like the hero's POV better, although I'm not certain why. Maybe because his feelings come across as more intense?

Great post! :)

Terry Odell said...

Gillian - switching POV is something highly recommended when you're 'stuck' or a scene feels flat.

Check back tomorrow, and I'll tell you which one I ended up using and why it worked better.

Jean Hart Stewart said...

Good idea and well done as you always do. I like the masculine POV here. I always try to go by the axiom of 'who has the most to lose' and I think it's Randy.
Happy sales on this one too, Jean

Mary Marvella said...

Good job, Terry. You made your point ab out POV choices.

Thanks for stopping by The Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers blog.