Wednesday, June 21, 2017

POV By Bonnie Le Hamilton


POV stands for point of view, or rather where the person is standing to view a scene. If you’re talking about a place it could be a scenic lookout, but even then, by looking at the same spot from a different direction or distance, you can see something different.

I actually know of a spot, where, when driving a particular road, you’ll see up ahead on the left what looks like a face formed in rock, but as you get closer, that formation will spread out until there is no recognizable face at all. At a distance, the formation appears to be much narrower than it actually is, and only small protrusions of the longer formation can be seen from a distance. And those outcroppings combined with what is visible of the formation appear to be a face.

Prospective makes a huge difference. The same goes with what we are writing in our stories. And I know I’ve said this before, because it can make a big difference. Generally, as writers we tend to lean toward writing a scene in the POV of the character with the most to lose. Essentially, we write a scene in the POV the character with the strongest feelings, in doing so we must recognize that the other characters who view that same scene will view it differently.

Not because of where they are standing, but because of how they are feeling. All of us filter what we see and experience through our own emotions, so each of us experience the same event differently, because we feel them differently.

And just because one character doesn’t like what happens, doesn’t mean another can’t hate the event too, but for totally different reasons. And to say one characters feelings are immaterial is ludicrous. The feelings of one character doesn’t cancel out the feelings of the other, even if you are only showing one POV, both characters have feelings. 

I think the romance novels which have the “he said/she said” scenes depict this quite well, and I’m certain I showed it myself in a phone conversation scene I wrote years ago. In that, I included each character’s feelings to what they were saying and hearing. It was a simple back and forth, but it wasn’t they’re words which told the story it was their thoughts.

Each of them viewed what was being said differently, because they each felt different about it. That isn’t to say one point of view is wrong and the other is right, because they are both correct.
The event is the same, but the emotions are different, and one interpretation of the event doesn’t cancel out the other interpretation because everyone bases the interpretation on their feelings, not on the event itself.

Someone once told me that sometimes you could learn a lot about a character writing a scene from that character’s prospective instead of the one you have. I think that for some it will be an eye opener, just like when we try to see real events from the prospective of someone else. If we do it right, we see the difference and come to understand the other person better, if we do it wrong, the gulf remains.

In writing, we must at least visualize the feelings of every character involved, so that we show their reactions correctly. It is by far not the whole picture, but it is at least some of it.


Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mom’s Big Day by Konnie Enos

Being a mother isn’t the easiest job in the world. There is there no effective guidebooks covering everything so you are pretty much doing just about every single job you can think of all at once. You are also on duty twenty-four/seven from the time you have your first child until the day you die.
As a mother I think the hardest part is raising well-adjusted, capable, human beings. That alone takes a great deal of effort and you’re almost completely on your own.
There are tons of books out there on parenting. And there will probably be lots more. And it would be easy to find parenting books that didn’t agree with each other, or with tips and ideas that really don’t work for your family.
Why?
I’m going to repeat myself now. No two people are exactly alike. You can’t find answers in books because there isn’t anybody else exactly like “Jonny”.
Don’t get me wrong. Those parenting books can help. Glean what you can from them, but because each child is an individual, you just have to figure out each of your children to know what works and doesn’t work with them and for your family.
That’s the hard part, and time consuming.
You spend twenty or thirty years putting all your time and effort into raising these kids, hoping for the best, praying they turn out okay and then just waiting to see the end results. That’s all you can do, wait and see how it all turns out.
You watch them as they grow up and always wonder if you are doing things right. If maybe you should handle something differently.
They go through their rough spots, their teenage rebellion, and you’re positive you’re not doing it right. They have problems in school or making friends and you wonder what else you can do or what you did wrong. It never gets easier because every bump in the road you wonder what you did wrong and what you need to change to make things better.
But dealing with another human being means they have a roll in how things turn out too so you can never tell what the outcome will be. With your first born you could just take away the TV, but your second born doesn’t mind spending hours alone in their room. Each child is different. So it’s hit and miss, a learn as you go experience, raising kids.
But one things for sure they are probably not going to come right out and tell you how to raise them or that you are doing things right. That’s why you have to wait and see how they turn out.
My children are getting to the age where I can start to see how they are going to turn out. My oldest will be getting married soon and her two sisters are in college. (My boys are in high school.)
But the real test is seeing how they do raising their own kids. We’re clearly not there yet.
But the other day I had two separate conversations with my two daughters still at home. I don’t remember how either one started other than I was driving each one somewhere, or really what we were talking about to begin with. I also know that I never mentioned my first conversation to the second girl. 
But at some point both my daughters said, “You got it right, Mom.”
I raised them right. I did a good job. Made my day.
Oh, and Happy Flag Day.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Write What You Know by Bonnie Le Hamilton



Writers the world over have probably been told a time or two to write what they know. I heard it a lot in high school, and at some point, I began to wonder how any author could come up with more than one story, if authors can only write what he or she has experienced personally. To my mind, even all those years ago, I didn’t think I’d be able to write a decent story, if I had to stick with only things I’d personally experienced.

I mean I did try. My two novels dating back that far have a heroine who was two years behind in school. That was something I did know. And in one of them, I originally had a scene where the hero and heroine meet while watching a pair of swans taking off in flight from a place called The Oxbow, it’s on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park.

The setting exists, and that pair of swans did once take off in flight, but there had only been one person standing on the bridge above watching — one young lady. Me.

And, just so you know, that’s one sight I will never forget.

But even as I wrote both of these stories, I felt like I wasn’t really writing what I know. Yeah sure, I’d seen those swans myself, and yeah sure, I had been two years behind in school, but neither of those characters were twins. I’m a twin, I know what being a twin is like. And yet, while I have had characters that are twins, I’ve yet to write a story where the heroine is a twin.

And I’m still not sure why.

Then I discovered Dick Francis.

Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of his. I have been for years, but well after reading a couple of his books, I started thinking he must have led a fantastical life, considering all the careers he knew so much about. I was beginning to wonder how I could ever write anything when I had such limited experience. Then I learned a few things about him personally.

Number one, he had been a jockey, which explains why horse racing plays such a major role in many of his stories, but he’d also been in a pilot in World War II, explaining his stories where the hero is a pilot. But he never lost a hand; he never suffered the injury his character Sid Haley suffered nor have I ever discovered any information on him saying he was a fraternal twin like his character Kit Fielding.

And what of the artist living on a Scottish mountainside? Or the wine merchant, or the glassblower, and oh so many other characters. He didn’t do all those things! It was physically impossible for one man to have that many careers in one lifetime.

So how did Dick Francis do it?

Research! From what I’ve read of him, he’d interview people in those fields, picked their brains for details, or even follow them around for a few days. And his writing shows that knowledge, making each novel interesting and fresh.

So the take away is, write what you know, but don’t limit yourself to personal experience. Go out there and find the information you need to make your story realistic!


Happy writing everyone. J