February might be the shortest month, but in my family, it was always a busy one. Not only did we have Washinton's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday (now combined into President's Day), but there's Groundhog Day (if you're a reader of this blog, you'll know why that's something I celebrate), Valentine's Day, my mom's birthday, two cousins' birthdays (one is 6 days older than I am, the other is exactly 5 year younger), and my birthday.
To celebrate all these occasions, I'm having a "non-contest" this month. Everyone can win. All you need to do is click the "Contest" tab above for your prize.
And now, back to writing.
Some POV exercises
Looking over some of yesterday's comments, there were a couple that mentioned authors re-telling the same scene from each character's point of view. I think this can be used as a plot device, especially if there's a very different perception of what happened in the scene, but as mentioned yesterday, it might not work for everyone.
I wrote a short vignette of the same scene from two points of view. It ended up being my first published piece. (If you haven't read "Words", it's free from Smashwords, which includes it's distribution affiliates, as well as All Romance eBooks. It started because I couldn't decide which POV to use, so I tried both. Often, when a scene isn't working, it could be because you're in the wrong POV. So, for an exercise, take a scene you're working on and write it from a different POV.
Another exercise prompted by one comment was to write the scene in first person. If you want to make sure your POV is tight, and that you're not sneaking into someone else's head, write in first, because your limited to only the senses of that single character.
And there was another comment about how to handle transitions. Even if you're using some kind of marker to alert the reader that you've swapped heads, it's still a very good idea to make sure you transition smoothly. (Especially since your editor might not want to use them.) The best way to do this, I've found, is to open the new scene with the new POV character's name in the first sentence, and then have him perform an action. And, better yet, include a thought or internal reaction that belongs to that character.
Here are some examples of POV switches from Nowhere to Hide. Each of these introduces a new scene or chapter. In the book, the publisher uses markers for scene breaks, but because these switches are clear, it shouldn't matter.
Deputy Graham Harrigan sat at his computer in the Sheriff's Office substation, the normal sounds of office activity fading to white noise as he hunted and pecked his way through the report he needed to file.
Colleen fished through the contents of her carryon. A long-sleeved polo had seemed reasonable when she'd checked the Orlando forecast before leaving Oregon, but apparently nobody told the weather gods it was supposed to be in the sixties here, not the eighties.
Graham finished filing his reports, surprised to see it was four-thirty.
Colleen settled onto the couch armed with three more movies and a pepperoni and sausage pizza, bought more out of reflex than hunger.
The chili at the Celebrity Deli was good—not as good as his, of course—but it filled Graham's empty belly.
Colleen felt much better after stuffing down a sandwich from the grocery store deli counter.
Hope these help! And thanks for your comments.