A Fun Way to Learn How to Write From the Male and Female POV and Perspective- Part 1

Before reading any further, take the next three minutes to watch this video. Get your laugh on, then watch it again and get your learn on. Not only will you be entertained, you’re going to learn something new because afterwards, I’m going to break it down!

DATE NIGHT! -THE VIDEO

(Video via Facebook share)

Hilarious, right? It’s the typical men see things differently than women story of a date through the eyes of two very different couples. The difference? The back story. Knowing what each character is going through before, during, and after a scene helps you, the author, know what experiences should be included in a scene and how to present them.

Remember those pesky and time consuming character outlines I’m always referring to? Well, here is how they work for the characters in this short video.

THE BREAK DOWN:

COUPLE A:

HER POV: The Date SUCKED!

Woman A was looking forward to a romantic interlude. She did her hair and make-up, took the time to prepare a meal, and set the table. She expected her date to arrive looking nice, probably bearing a vase of flowers, and taking the time to appreciate her appearance and the meal. Next would have come some small talk, flirting, and no doubt, some personal fun time.

What did she get?

A quick hug, no compliments on her appearance or the meal. Instead he made a beeline for the food, woofed it down without any conversation besides grunts that seemed to ruin her appetite. And when it came to fun time…well, let’s just say Mr. Happy was there and back again in less than 3 seconds, or as she said, before she could unhook the back her dress. And to top it all off, he finds his way to her bed and passes out from what has to be over eating and rapid blood loss to the brain.

His POV: IT was AMAZING!

Man A wanted exactly what he got: A good looking woman who cooked for him (free food), had nothing to say, and stood there long enough for him to get his rocks off. Oh yeah, let’s not forget the comfy bed. In his eyes, major score!! And he got to leave with his needs satisfied in time to watch the big game at home without interruption.

 

COUPLE B:

HER POV: Most ROMANTIC DATE EVER!

Everything about the evening was different than being with any other man. First, he paid for a cab. Dinner was an amazing experience. After, instead of hailing a cab, they took the scenic route, walking along, holding hands, and experiencing the night life from another point of view. At his place, the romance continued with lit candles to set the mood, a very intense love making session that lasted longer than anything she’d ever experienced. And the best part, he didn’t pass out when they were done. They lay there wrapped in each other’s arms and talked all night.

In a nutshell, everything was magical and perfect, just what a girl could ever want.

 His POV: EPIC FAIL!!!!

It’s been a long day full of one frustrating event after another. Failure to pay his light bill lead to to spend money taking her out instead of having her come over. After paying for a cab, dinner was so expensive he could no longer afford a taxi cab home. He plays off the whole broke thing by suggesting they ‘sight see’ and walk to his place, (is this chick gullible or what???). No electricity leaves him improvising again with candles. Frustrated by the series of mind numbing fails, he has too much pride to say let’s call it an evening and tires to play it off by ‘making love’ when what he’s really doing is stalling for time to work himself up for that magic moment. By the end of it all, he doesn’t feel like finishing the act, but he’s literally ‘in the game’ and has to figure out how to play it off, because hey, Ms. Gullible is having the time of her life. Again, frustrated, pissed off, and ready for it all to be over, he can’t sleep which means he has no choice but to be subjected to Ms. Chatty Cathy.

This date sucked so much he probably would refuse to see her ever again.

Pad of Paper & Pen

 

 

 

Now, how does all of this tie into writing?

First, let’s review the definitions of Point of View and Perspective:

 

 

 

 

 

POINT OF VIEW: The position of the narrator in relation to the story, as indicated by the narrator’s outlook from which the events are depicted and by the attitude toward the characters

PERSPECTIVE: the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship

(Definitions via dictionary.com)

DETERMINING USE OF POINT OF VIEW:

When telling a story, you must know which character’s voice you want the readers to experience. If the entire story is being written from one character’s POV, then it’s simple. Everything that happens comes from them. If your story is being told from more than one character’s POV, then you must decide how much of is being told and from who’s POV. This can be done in several ways:

  • An entire scene or chapter is told in one character’s POV
  • A scene or chapter is told in split POV’s
  • A section, or portion (meaning more than a few chapters in a row or Part 1, Part 2, etc. of the manuscript) are told from various characters’ POV

Knowing the story your telling (story line) and what your characters experience and how those experiences will affect their decision making (back story) determines who’s POV is shared at certain points. The character’s reactions to their environment and scenarios they face will be based on that back story.

Of the four characters portrayed in the video, the best example would be Man B from the second couple. An unfortunate event (failure to pay his light bill) led to changing his date night plans (paying for cab, expensive dinner, walking home, candle light sex, aggravation to the point of failure to perform for an extended point of time, and sleeplessness). Lack of electricity set off a catalyst of events that when told from his point of view, led to the date from hell. His POV was much more entertaining than Woman B who saw things from a fairytale perspective.

Now, how does perspective come into play?

Come back tomorrow where I’ll break down that portion of the video, as well as share a scene from my bestselling novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, where I demonstrate the use of perspective from three characters POV in one scene. Until then, Happy Writing!!!

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

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SORMAG Online Conference 2013- Readers and Writers, will you be there?

On the panel add

Have you heard about the SORMAG Online Conference ?

If not, you have to check it out!

SORMAG (Shades of Romance Magazine) is hosting its annual conference which gives authors the opportunity to learn from one another. Readers, here’s a chance to talk to some of your favorite authors! The event last November 1-3rd!!!

Workshops will be held online as well as by phone.  Each day will have a theme:

November 1st: New Writers

November 2nd: Readers

November 3rd: Published Authors

I’m excited to say that I am not only attending, I’m also on several panels! You will find me on the Social Media and Readers panel on November 2nd, and the Marketing panel on November 3rd. Both are live phone panels, so stop by and say hi!

Follow this link to learn more about the conference topics and what authors will be participating!

Register

Have you ever attended a conference without leaving your home?
Register for SORMAG’s Online Conference for readers and writers. Learn from published authors, network with fellow writers. Pitch your manuscript. Mix and mingle with avid readers. Win a few door prizes and never leave the comforts of your home.

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Thank you for stopping by! I love to make new friends. Got questions or comments? Leave a comment, or connect with me online!  If you’ve enjoyed this post, sign up for the monthly newsletter by following this blog!

MJ

About Me     Twitter     Facebook    Pinterest     Instagram  Google+      Goodreads     Linkedin     Email

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Inspiration: Part Three- Characters Close to Home

Building Real Characters: How to Bring Them From the Page and Into Your HeartWriters find inspiration anywhere; at the grocery store, the bank, even the activities of driver sitting next to you at the red light, can get the muse flowing. Then of course there are my favorites: family and friends.

If you have a Facebook account, I’m sure you have seen the pictures posted by someone at least once a month that says: (in a nutshell): BEWARE, I’M A WRITER, ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED IN MY NEXT BOOK.  I was at the bank the other day and had a lively conversation with my banker. Upon completion of my transaction, she asked me, ‘is this going to be in one of your stories?’ I laughed and said quite possibly.

It seems no matter how hard I try; my Muse is always working, always observing and cataloging the statements and actions of others, especially when it comes to my kids.

In the last few weeks, my children have shocked me with their ‘Remember when…’ tales. Being an only child, it never ceases to amaze me what  my four kids get into when they are unsupervised in their bedrooms. First, there was the ‘broken-glow-in-the-dark-stick incident’ that led to fluorescent yellow liquid being splashed over bedroom walls. (According to them, it wore off withing minutes, thus leading to doing it again in order to illuminate the room.  No evidence was left behind. Imagine my horror!!!) Of course a lot of sibling smacks upside the head, and then the sneaking to cut hair or trim their eyebrows disasters that ended with bad results. (Those I knew about, but it still makes me laugh to remember the results.) Funny stories that made my eyebrows shoot into the hemisphere and start to give the ‘you know better’ speech. But then I realized the issues happened months, even years ago. What’s the point?  All that’s left is ‘don’t do it again.’

Once the kids go about their evening activities, my Muse sorts through the information, while not inspiration for my adult characters’ lives, they make great character back story.

***Back Story: Insight into the protagonist nature or history through reflective flashbacks, scenes, or dialogue. This information is used to show how a character will react to certain situations.***

There are various ways to use back story.  Some authors like to use flashback during a scene or as a scene to show an incident that explains the reason for their character’s actions during the course of a story. (Think about the show LOST, whose episodes focused on the back story of a character’s life, decisions, made, and how they related to the present situation). In novels, the most common use is having a character allude to their past through dialogue, thought, or peppered in by the omnipotent voice. (Dialogue is the best way to share this information without slowing down your prose and boring a reader.)

How do you know what your characters back story will be?

By writing character outlines.

If you have  followed my blog, you know a large portion of my writing begins with focusing on deep character development. I love writing characters my readers can relate to either through their own personal experiences or someone they know. Creating well-developed back story can do that. Knowing where your characters have been, what experiences have affected them – good and bad – will give your characters a strong voice that makes them stand out.

Even if it starts from when they were kids.

In a nutshell, a well-developed back story lets you know your characters. Knowing and understanding your characters will explain their motivations. Motivations are what set up a plot. Reactions to plot twists/turns are what provide scenes. Scenes mixed with reactions are what create drama.

Whew!  Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is, but as with all things in life, you get what you put in. Taking the time to sit down and understand your characters will show in your writing. It will help you understand why they interrupt your writing, and no matter how much you want the story to go one way, they hijack your manuscript.

For more on writing character outlines and finding writing inspiration, visit my previous posts:

M.J.’s on Writing- Helpful Advice for Aspiring Authors

MJ

It DOES Take A Year To Write Your Prose!!!!

My collection: Roberts, Brockmann, Evanovich, and yes that IS Twilight, and it belongs to me, not my daughter!
How in the @&*% does Nora Roberts manage to publish three to four books a year under two different pen names, yet still have time to water and plant her garden?!?!?!?!?????
Is there a ghost writer in her house?
I love Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb. I have twenty-five of my favorite books penned by her in my collection. Talk about inspiration! It seems like every few months I walk by the book section of my local grocery store and find two brand new books sitting on the shelf, one in each of her pen names. Wow, the woman is good.
I watched an interview with her a year ago, and they asked her about her writing schedule. Yeah, she definitely has one, along with an office built by her husband where she writes. She also follows a strict writing routine that does in fact leave her time for her favorite past time, gardening. I, on the other hand, can’t seem to write a schedule let alone follow one! Plus, my four kids, ages ten to sixteen, are at a stage in life where they have various activities – orchestra, jazz band, art, book club, and etc. – that demand I spend time taking them places. (Finding Creative Ways to Edit While Running My Household) Nora’s children, on the other hand, are all grown. Her writing career started years ago when her boys were young, and she was a single mom. What ever she did to get her career started and make it to the level of success she’s seen over the years, I have to give her props. If I ever have the opportunity to meet her, I’m going to demand tips.
But, until then, I have to stick to what I’ve learned.
When I first began my writing journey, I checked out books from the library dealing with the art of writing. I remember one book, This Year You Write Your Novel, by well-known author, Walter Mosely. He is the famed author of books such as Devil in a Blue Dress, (later turned into a movie staring Denzel Washington), and many others. One look at the title and I scoffed, thinking, ‘A year? Yeah right. I’ve written my first three books already…in nine months!’
Sigh…..Don’t I feel like an idiot! Well, at least I had some form of confidence that encouraged me to keep going; even when I found out I still had a lot to work on!
And now, two years later, I’m just beginning to see the EXIT sign as I near completion of my first book. In December my editor will get her hands on the manuscript, but the journey won’t end there. Once she sprinkles her fairy dust on it, it will come back for yet another rewrite. I’m praying that will be the last one, because the characters for the next book are tired of waiting.
That said, I’d like to share with you:
M.J. Kane’s Top Ten Things I’ve Learned During My Writing Journey:
(Check out the links, they go back to related blogs)
10. Research comes in many forms. Don’t be afraid to use them!
If this is your first time writing a novel, I’m sure you’ve already stockpiled your personal library with books on writing and editing to get you started. My local library was a great place to find books, but not all can be found there. Tip: Hang out at your local book store (if you can still find one) Take pen and paper and cruise the shelves for books on writing and writing in your genre. Find a nice corner, and take notes. It’s free, and the access to the information you seek is priceless. Scan the Internet for articles and blogs on writing – such as this one – and pick up pointers from those who have been in the game longer than you have. There’s a wealth of advice to be found. (Finding the Correct Genre for your Prose)
9. Patience, coffee, and a box of chocolate.
Screen savers can be inspirational! Oh yeah and the butterflies, too! LOL!

Patience is key when working on your character back story, story plots, and settings. It takes time to discover who your characters are and what motivates them. This amount of research takes more than a few hours. Sometimes it can take days. Find a in-depth character profile chart that works for you. Settle in with your coffee, something sweet, and get to know your characters intimately. It’s the only way for your characters to leave the one/two dimensional life on paper and become three-dimensional. From there, the story will grow and find a life of its own. (The Importance of Writing Outlines – I’m Glad I Did!- Part 2)

8. Find music that inspires you to write and edit too!
Now that you’ve got your outline and discovered your characters, you need to find inspiration. Music can establish the mood of a scene, influence the story’s flow, or even explain what a character is feeling when they can’t say it themselves. (Does Your Story Have a Soundtrack?)
7. Passive Word Check List.
This is like holding a magic wand in your hand when editing. Search for words that make the passages wordy or boring because you use them repeatedly. The trick to writing a story that does not bore your readers is to paint your prose with colorful and creative ways that express your characters emotions and thoughts. My ‘kryptonite’ list includes the words:  was, that, saw, feel, look, and see for starters. Then there are words that are often misused: a/an, to/too, its/it’s. My personal list has forty-one words/phrases I check before the chapter is marked ‘edited’. This list came from words my critique partners pointed out as they read my work. (Digital Audio Recording Devices + Editing = ??????)

6. Thesaurus and dictionary.
This is the answer to the dreaded passive word check list. If your brain is fried and you can’t think creatively, this is your life line. Not sure if that word will fit correctly in your sentence, use the dictionary. Need to find another way to say ‘see’…thesaurus is the way to go.

5. A locked door and a good pair of headphones can make any workspace personal.
The beauty of fall!

Unfortunately, not everyone can have a dream writing space like Nora, but you can create your own slice of writing heaven. Mine is in my bedroom where my desk is located next to a big picture window. I enjoy watching the trees change color and the squirrels run around collecting food for winter. As long as the door is locked and the head phones are on high, I can ignore the knocking and get into a scene…lol, at least that’s the plan. Still haven’t got the kiddies to go along with the plan. For some reason, every time I start working on a love scene, that’s the time ALL of them suddenly need my attention. Talk about a mood killer! (The Dynamics of Writing a Love Scene)

4.  Beta Readers, what can I say?
So, you’ve burned up brain cells and blown a few fuses to create your literary perfection, it’s time to take that baby on a test run. Find your beta readers, whether they are critique partners, family members, or a friend you’ve made on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social networking site. You need real feedback. If you can get someone who writes the same genre as you, they can let you know if your MS fits the genre or if you’ve missed something. Finding someone who doesn’t normally read your genre and hooking them with your story can build confidence. That means you’ve got what it takes to tell a strong story. (The Value of Critique Partners and Beta Readers)
3. Join social networking sites for support, marketing and promotion.
Most of us have already joined Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. Now’s there’s Google plus, Linkedin, Klout and a god only knows how many more. In this day and age, you can never have enough ways to connect to other writers for advice and support. If you haven’t done it yet, start writing a blog. It’s not only a great way to share your work with others, it’s also a way to create a fan base and let people know what you’re doing.
2. Find an editor!
Whether your goal is to self-publish, e-publish, or try your luck with the selling your book to one of the big publishing houses, an editor is key! Readers are picky and will not fail to notice if your story has not received that ‘professional’ touch. Not everyone can be an English major and know every writing rule known to man. That’s why God created editors! But seriously, we all need them. It will cost some money, but having that touch added to your work will separate your hard work from those who aren’t willing to put in the work. Think about it, we’ve all read a book written by a well-known author distributed by a major publishing house and have found some sort of grammatical or technical error. So, Indie published authors don’t fear. Do the best you can, work with an editor, and understand: you can’t please everybody. No matter what you do, somebody is NOT going to like something about your story and find a reason to criticize it. Look at it this way — at least they read it. (The Joys – and Woes – of Editing)
1. Have the will and desire to try again and again until you get the story right, no matter how many re-writes/edits it takes.
That statement pretty much says it all. If you don’t have the desire to work through the ups and downs of telling the story and doing the best you can, then maybe becoming an author is not for you. Admit defeat and try your hand at something else. But if you step away and find you can’t keep your mind off writing and your characters keep nagging you to tell their story, try again. Take a writing class, read more books on writing. Read books in your genre and see what it is they have done to make them become successful. Then try again. (Finding Inspiration…Again!)
With that said, Breaktime is over, back to work.  I’m off to work on my second round of edits….
Until next time, WRITE WELL!!!!!