There are times when the light is too bright and instead of showing you the way, it’s devouring everything, so you can’t see what’s hidden behind it.
Sometimes we need to wait until the sun has mellowed to see what was always there, behind the brightness.
We’re stuck in a rut. Life seems too much, but it isn’t. We often only need to stop, breathe and wait, a short time. The brightness will gradually vanish and we’ll see what’s behind the light isn’t so devastating after all.
A suggestion, while you’re waiting for the brightness to fade, write a poem, a piece of flash fiction, draw a picture, sing a song, dance, read a poem, a story, a novel, go for a walk, ride your bike, take a photo, be creative!
March 6 question – Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?
I definitely prefer first person point of view of the protagonist, as a reader and as a writer. My favourite novels, when I started reading adult fiction, in my teens, such as, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, David Copperfield, and Rebecca, to name a few, were written in this fashion.
The first person narrator, whether he or she is protagonist or antagonist, has the powerful advantage of speaking directly to the reader, but on the other hand, he or she also has the enormous disadvantage of limited knowledge and bias.
The first person narrator cannot be everywhere or be aware of everything the reader would like to know. Moreover, he or she is necessarily biased due to gullibility, innocence, ignorance, physical, or psychological problems, or he or she can be downright evil and purposefully lead everyone along the wrong path, which is usually the case of the antagonist as first person narrator.
The question posed, implies that only one narrator is possible, and that he or she is either protagonist or antagonist, but there are many more options available to the writer. There could be more than one point of view, and more than one protagonist and or antagonist, or the protagonist and antagonist could even be the same person at the same or different stages of his/her life.
The first time I read a novel with various first person narrators was Laura, by Vera Caspary, also in my teenage years. I remember being pleasantly surprised, as a reader, by two aspects, the multiple first person narrators and the presence of unreliable narrators, including the antagonist.
In one of my ‘A’ level texts, The Fall, Camus’ manipulative first person narrator, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, whose long series of monologues is a confession and reflection of his life, to a stranger he calls, ‘cher ami’, thus, mostly using the second person ‘you’. He is also both protagonist and antagonist, as he finally turns the mirror on his patient and unsuspecting listener/reader.
The options are endless. In my case, I’ve published three books and written five (two will hopefully be published this year), and all of them have multiple, first person narrators, including protagonist and antagonist.
Although I don’t mind reading novels written in third person, I can’t see myself doing so. I would especially avoid third person omniscient narrators, mainly because I think it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of manipulating characters, events and readers. I prefer to allow my characters and readers more space to grow and reconstruct their own novel.
I overcome the hurdles inherent to first person narration, at least partly, by having more than one first person narrator, which I believe gives the novel wider scope and perspective.
The Eyre Hall Trilogy has several, rotating first person narrators, and although some readers have complained, most readers have positive opinions. The use of various first person voices is innovative and enriching, but it’s by no means easy to juggle so many characters at once, and it’s not something I’m planning on doing again, at the moment.
My two latest, unpublished novels, both have only two points of view. In one case it is the protagonist and the antagonist, and in the second case a mother and daughter, who are both protagonists. So far, beta readers have responded favourably, and I’m satisfied with the end product, although, one still has to go through the final draft and editing stage.
I think two narrators give enough scope for multiple perspectives to allow readers more space to interact with the narrative.
I will probably experiment with other viewpoints in the future. As I said, I enjoy many different points of view as a reader, but for the moment, I plan to continue writing novels with, at least, two first person points of view.
Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and/or leave a comment 🙂
What about you, how many and whose point(s) of view do you prefer as a reader and as a writer?
Readers enjoy all sorts of stories, but what makes a book outstanding, instead of enjoyable?
A book becomes outstanding instead of enjoyable if it’s ‘Written from the heart’ with the aim of ‘Reaching other hearts’.
I recently wrote a short post about ‘Writing from the heart’ and my conclusion is that the key is to: Write with passion about a meaningful issue.
I am convinced the world needs, has always needed and will always need, uplifting stories about wonderful, yet ordinary people, who struggle and survive.
The world’s a harsh place and we are all aware of the limited time we’ll be spending here, especially compared to the thousands of years we’ve heard about, but haven’t experienced, so we appreciate stories that remind us of our history and fill our hearts with hope for the future.
At the moment I’m in the middle of reading, or rather listening to, an outstanding book, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
We were all told about WWII in our history classes at school, but it’s the novels and films of the period that reach our hearts and help us understand what happened and must be avoided at all cost.
And yet The Tattooist of Auschwitz is not only about events which took place in WWII. It’s about hope, the struggle for survival, the strength that lies in love and gratitude, and the value of the combined effort of many, as well as the power of positive leadership.
Lale could not have survived, or accomplished anything on his own. He needed the help and support of many others, and they needed a leader, an intelligent and compassionate organiser to manage and synchronise their combined efforts.
I’ll be writing a proper review when I finish listening, but at the moment I can say, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a beautifully written story which connected directly to my heart.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an outstanding novel, for adults. Another outstanding novel, I read some time ago and is more suitable for younger readers, is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
Happy World Book Day!
Tell us, which is the most outstanding novel you’ve recently read?
August 1 question – What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?
The single best piece of advice I’d give an author, especially an author who is aiming to self-publish, is to find a good editor.
It seems obvious. I mean, everyone knows that, don’t they?
It also seems easy. I mean, there are plenty of editors out there, aren’t there?
Yes, to both, but authors can still make mistakes. I did.
When I finished my first novel, I found an editor via Goodreads. She was recommended by another editor an author I knew had hired, and she was reasonably priced.
I thought I’d got it right, until another editor, who saw my book, which had been accepted for review on Rosie’s Book Review Team, read my novel and pointed out some / too many errors in the first few chapters.
Most were punctuation, but not all. I’m useless at commas. I actually have nightmares with them, so I was relieved that an editor/proof reader had gone through my manuscript, but it hadn’t been done thoroughly.
I’ll forever be grateful to Alison Williams for pointing out these errors in my novel and for her patience and advice while editing the following two novels.
An author knows and expects that not every reader will enjoy their novel, for numerous reasons, style, characters, plot, etc. and that’s acceptable and to be expected, but what is unacceptable is to have editing errors.
All novels whether self-published or traditionally published should be professionally edited.
There are many editors available, and I’m really not an expert on finding the right one, I was just lucky I found her, or rather she was kind enough to find me, just a few a months after I published All Hallows at Eyre Hall, in May 2014.
I cringe when I think of those few months when my novel wasn’t in perfect condition. The good news is that amazon makes it really quick and easy to update your new version for both kindle and print.
Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to like and/or leave a comment 🙂
What about you, what pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid before publication?