Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Patrice Michelle wrote a blog on this today, and it really struck a chord with me because I'm in the middle of two books. I'm desperately trying to finish 'The Last Templer' but it's very tough going. It's probably one of the worst written books I've read, switching mercilessly between anyone's POV, (head-hopping, as my editor says), until I'm never sure who is thinking what or about to speak next. Another thing that bothers me are the historical settings. I'm sure the author did tons of research, but it hardly shows. The other book I'm reading is White Murder, and it quite a lot of fun being a Roman mystery (set in ancient Rome) but with the protagonists speaking like characters out of a Dashell Hammet mystery. It actually adds veracity, because I bet the Romans loved slang. The hero of the story loves wine bars and good food, and the author here has done a ton of research and it shows flawlessly. He's written a really good tale full of colorful characters and I'm dying to see 'who dunnit'.

I'm also re-writing a book I started and can't finish. I'm chopping out huge hunks of it - slashing and burning, to try and hone it down to where I can start over again and build it on a more solid base. It's got too many characters, and although I'm going to keep them, I'm taking out their POV's. The book 'The Last Templer' has shown me how too many POV's can weaken a story. The White Murder, which is a huge book (over 500 pages) is told first person, so it's only one POV and it's a strong, well-told story.

Writing lesson for the day - too many POV's can spoil the book, just as too many cooks spoil the soup!

Oh, and if you've read a few of my books, would you trot over to my website and take the poll? (under the News section) I'm really interested in what readers prefer to read!


Cheyenne McCray said...

Head hopping and POV is something a lot of people have a problem with. I particularly have a problem with people who head hop with multiple characters. I will go back and forth from heroine to hero, but only after writing a good chunk from each person's POV.

BTW, TAG, you're it! Check out my blog. :-)

Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

When I look back at my early books I cringe a bit because there are so many things I’d do differently. POV issues definitely come to mind. LOL I did a lot of head hopping that looks strange to me now. And rather than rely solely on 3rd person, I slipped into omniscient POV too often. The deep 3rd person POV necessary for erotic romance helped make my writing stronger and I have my editor to thank for helping me to understand that.

I’m sorry for being absent from your wonderful blog lately, Sam. As you already know, I have all the results from my pseudonym blog and character name blog compiled and posted and you’re profiled there along with the other participants. It’s a long post but fun, and from the e-mails I’ve received, readers are enjoying it. However, it took me forever to do and now I’m way behind on my blog commenting (not to mention my writing).

Thanks again for participating. You gave some wonderful answers! :-D

Wynn Bexton said...

I think you have to really know how to do the p.o.v. properly if you are using multiple points of view. My current novel is like that and that's what is taking me so long because each person you give a p.o.v. to has to be properly developed. It's interesting though, and makes for a rich story-line. Of course I'm writing from history and the characters are mighty intriguing.

Sam said...

I don't mind reading a well written multiple POV story - because you don't notice the head-hopping and it's no problem to followt the story when it's well written.
Chey - my first book was a head-hopping nightmare, lol. My first editor, Allie, helped me SO much on that, I can't thank her enough.
Daisy - the psuedonym blog post is a HOOT - and what a lot of work you've done!!
Wynn - I can't wait to read your story!!!!