Whose POV is it anyway?

Perspective is an amazing thing. Depending on where you set that perspective, you can completely alter a story. Those of you who are writerly types know what I’m talking about: the question of point of view.

Generally, when hashing out ideas for a story, you come to a point where you need to decide what point of view (POV) in which to write. Will your story be in 1st person? What about 3rd? Will there be alternating POVs? A single POV? Or will it be some mish-mash of POV? This decision is just as important to the story building process as say plot or voice or even setting.

When writing in 3rd person (limited or omniscient), you have the ability to show more of the world around the characters. For instance, Cassandra Clare writes in 3rd person for the uber awesome Mortal Instrument and Infernal Devices series. Why is this important? Because Miss Cassie can share details of the Shadowhunter world that we may not see if limited to 1st person. Being that she also writes in alternating POV, if we’re looking at the world through Clary’s eyes, we will only be able to experience things as Clary does. This isn’t always a bad thing, especially when trying to build tension, but when you have such a rich world, like the Shadowhunter world, why limit yourself?

On the other hand, when writing in 1st, you can get into the character’s head more. When dealing with conflict, it’s sometimes harder-hitting when seeing it through the MC’s eyes. If your MC is totally freaked by something going on, you have the ability to really play up the emotional side of things in 1st person. Sure, you may be limited to what’s going on around the character, but if your story is more of an internal conflict for your MC, then you don’t need all the outside forces explained.

So which do you choose?

It’s up to you and how you want your story to be told. At UtopYA Con, there was a panel discussion about this very subject. Raine Thomas, LM Davis, and Willow Cross were all panelists discussing how it’s all about breaking the rules with POV in YA these days. There’s no cut-and-dry way to write YA, no standard template that MUST be followed. This is a great thing!

Many authors are testing the boundaries of POV in their writing. I think this is awesome! As long as there’s a reason for the way it’s done. If you just go about it all mamby-pamby style and write a POV wonky just for shits and giggles, then you need to be punched in the face. Well, maybe not that extreme, but your readers may want to. And that’s not a great thing.

So whether you write solely in 3rd person like Cassandra Clare, or if you alternate your 3rd person per book like Raine Thomas, or alternating 1st person like Marie Lu, or even alternating 1st per book like Myra McEntire…it all works. As long as it’s the right decision for your story.

Which do YOU prefer? Which side of the POV bubble are you on? Love 3rd person, but hate 1st? Work best when connecting to your characters through 1st person? What POV rules are YOU breaking?

 

There is room at the top for ALL of us!

Many, many apologies to everyone for sort of falling off the face of the earth. With managing some health issues, my 10 1/2 year old Lab’s health issues, and seemingly endless life crap, things just sort of…well, went to the crapper. That’s me being honest, and PG-13.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. As you may have seen from my multiple tweets on the subject, I was very excited about a wee event called UtopYA Con that took place right here in Nashville. A start-up convention for YA paranormal writers, authors, and all the freakin’ readers who obsessstalkLOVE to read! I knew it would be the cat’s meow, and I was right. Over the next several days, or weeks as time wills, I will try to recap some of the awesome I experienced over the last couple days.
For now, I just have to give my thanks. Many, many thanks.
Janet Wallace, Nashville’s Kid-Lit Meet-Up group organizer and owner of Social Deviants, birthed this idea for UtopYA and she did a phenomenal job. This was the second time I’ve gone to this sort of event, the first being the SCBWI Conference in NYC. SCBWI was big and awesome and crazy informative, but UtopYA had something in it I didn’t really find at SCBWI NYC. I thought I had, and I’m sure it IS there, but it was not as blazingly obvious as it was at UtopYA.
That thing, is HEART.
I’m not a hard core writer. I will be the first to admit this. There are so many freakin’ awesome writers and authors out there. Me? I’m the sort of misfit kid in the back of the room that never really…’fit.’ But I LOVE to write. It has freed me in so many ways over the last two years. Quite literally, I have finally found…me. It took thirty mumble-grumble years to do it, but hell if I found her finally.
UtopYA oozed with wonderful people that were just like you and me. Some were traditionally published, most were either indie published or self published, some just budding out on the page. Did they throw it around like a fluorescent pink boa with diamond crusting? Nope. Did they spout stats like a stock broker on crack and zero sleep? Nuh-uh. Were they welcoming? Were they excited to meet someone who has read, or is dying to read, one or all of their books? You bet your buttered biscuit baby!
When I say UtopYA has the heart I didn’t find at other, larger, meets, I mean it. We were all there for the same reason: we love YA paranormal. There was a common unity no matter where you are in your career. The writing community really IS a community. It is a family that I am so very proud to be a part of. I still feel sort of like a distant cousin tip-toeing around the edges at times, but I still felt it. I felt the heart of this Con. I felt the heart of UtopYA.
Will it be the same in 2013? I sure as hell hope so! But really, I think it will. Everyone there, I think, picked up on the same vibe. We are readers. We are writers. We are authors. We are a group of people who LOVE to help the next coming. “There is room for all of us!” “A success for one, is a success for all.” We all strive to the same goal: readers. And readers LOVE to read…a LOT.
The lovely Willow Cross said in a panel I attended, and I will paraphrase here: it might take her readers a week to read her novel, what are they going to do with the other 51 weeks of the year? ‘If you like my books, here, check out my friend’s book too!’
That is what we do as writers, as authors. Support. Community. Family. Friends. You CAN do it. We ALL can do it.
Willow Cross, Raine Thomas, Amanda Havard, Myra McEntire, Chelsea Fine, Tiffany King, L.M. Preston, Angeline Kace, Teal Haviland, Tammy Blackwell, M.R. Polish, Amy Bartol, Abbi Glines… oh my word there are just too many. All of these women were phenomenal to meet and share experiences with. We laughed, we cried, we joked, we teased. We were just like those crazy cousins that get together at family reunions and gossip over who is doing what.
And why?
Because we are a community. We are a community of writers. And there is room for ALL of us.
Will YOU be a part next time? UtopYA Con 2013 is on the books. Come be part of the HEART of this awesomesauce community. You will NOT be disappointed. Come play. Come laugh. Come learn. Come fan-girl. Come be a part of the family.

Footnote. Yes, I totally cried writing this whole thing. But I’m a crier. That’s how I roll y’all. =^)

CITY OF LOST SOULS Just…wow

If you read YA chances are you read, or have read, Cassandra Clare. If you have not… Well, I have nothing to say other than… WTH!! You need to!

I know there will be a million and one reviews of City of Lost Souls out there, so I decided to do something different here. The last thing you need is yet another review of a book from a series that is not only a best seller, from a fab author who rocks our socks, but is also in the makings of a movie! The Mortal Instruments is one of my all time favorites series and I am here to tell you why. Why I rave about these books to anyone who will listen, and others who just tolerate my ramblings with near patience.
In short, these books have everything!
Raising an eyebrow? Questioning my sanity? Allow me to explain.
Now I’m no literary expert, but I know what I like. When my friend Rachel first introduced me to TMI, her words were something like “not too much on the romance, but they were pretty good.” But Rachel is a BIG romance fan. She said it had lots of demons, vampires, fae, and other stuff. This alone made me take City of Bones home. Oh, and she said the main guy, Jace, was pretty hot. That helped too. *wink*
As far as I’m concerned, Cassandra Clare is a master crafts…uh…woman for story telling. She wraps you around her little finger and takes you for a wild, crazy, heartbreaking ride. And you enjoy every minute of it. There is action, adventure, love, lust, friendships, enemies, characters you love, characters you hate, characters you LOVE to HATE, plot twists that leave you breathless, worlds so believable you look over your own shoulder…the whole tamale people!
My gateway drug to Fantasy Fiction was The Lord of the Rings. A tough read for a beginner I s’pose, but I was HOOKED. After that I got completely immersed in The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (may he rest in peace). Another fantasy fave was the Forgotten Realms books from R.A. Salvatore.
Miss Cassie, for me, is on the lines of these books. Her worlds are so thought out it’s spooky. Every time I read one of her books I’m amazed at the detail she incorporates. The politics of Shadowhunter lives, the relations between Shadowhunter and Downworlder, and the history of the Nephilim race fascinates me.
But she doesn’t stop there. The plotting involved in Cassie’s books leaves my head spinning. It makes the writer in me BEG (and I mean beg to the point of delirium) to be a fly in the room as she plots a book. The characters’ lives twist in and out of each other so much I’m left in awe.
This is particularly noticeable with City of Lost Souls.
I’m sure there were references to previous Shadowhunters in the first four TMI books, but I don’t recall them offhand. While reading COLS, however, Cassie makes several references to her prequel series, The Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince). Having read these books recently, they stuck out like a hobo clown at an Amish wedding. I can’t help but wonder if Cassie plans her books this way or if they just happen naturally, like magic, like slow churned vanilla ice cream and hot brownies, like peanut butter and chocolate…
I got so freakin’ giddy reading COLS it was really kind of pathetic. My writer side totally geeked out with how intertwined the plots are between the books. You don’t have to read one series to understand the other, since they both give the necessary background, but why would you not WANT to read both? And the connections are subtle too, which is awesome, so those readers who have read both series don’t feel like they’re being pulled out of one story and into another. From a passing glance that catches an odd angel pendant with gears and such for wings, a mysterious Silent Brother, Zachariah, and quick references to a lost love with dark hair and blue eyes… I just cannot help the fangirl in me!!!!
It really is books like The Mortal Instrument series, and the Infernal Devices, that inspire me to write. The deep seeded worlds of Shadowhunter life, or Middle Earth, or Menzobarrenzan make me want to create such rich worlds of my own. Horribly conflicted characters like Jace Lightwood, Will Herondale, Boromir, Frodo Baggins, and Drizzt Do’Urden inspire me to reach the ultimate conflicts with my own characters. To push them to their limits. To find what makes them break. And what will bring them back together again.
This is not to say other books don’t inspire me to write, and write well. There are just books you enjoy, and then there are books that take you to that place. That place, that space, between a totally happy voracious reader, and the other realm that gives you the drive to BE a part of that world. To create that feeling in the pit of the belly for others that you feel reading your favorite books. To make your readers want to WOOT out loud, to cry openly, to get so mad at a character you consider for a nanosecond throwing the book across the room, to fall in love, and to get so lost in a world it FEELS real…
That is what Cassandra Clare does for me. That is why I love her books. She is the whole package. I love her books, I love her worlds, I love her characters, but I also love the way she inspires the writer in me.
What about you? Who inspires YOU to write your pants off?