Monday, August 29, 2011

What's Your View Point?

Every book is told from a certain POV (Point of View). In other words, who is telling the story? A narrator, the protagonist, the villain, etc. Is it told in first person or third person narrative? I wrote Book One in the Stelladaur Series in 3rd person but when I began Book Two I subconsciously switched to 1st person. It's so weird because just as Reilly goes through a portal at the end of Finding Tir Na Nog (no, I'm not giving away the ending!!) he emerges in the first scene of Fallen Angel with a metamorphosis he wasn't expecting. Nor was I. It was like Reilly suddenly told me to step back and just let him tell the story. I didn't argue. I always try to trust my characters. I trust they know the best process for telling their story. After all, it's their story, not mine.

But POV isn't just about who is telling the story. It's also about considering each of your characters' view points--their emotions, feelings, responses, etc.--in such a way that you could actually write the story from their own POV. Get to know your characters well enough that if you write something contrary to what they would actually say or do, it will jump right out at you and scream, "What are you talking about? I'm the one who doesn't give a rip about the other guy, remember?" OR "Excuse me, but I think you have me confused with so-and-so. I would never eat a hamburger. I'm a vegetarian!" Even though you won't write everything you know about your characters, you still have to know them better than anyone else. Likewise, even though you won't share everything about yourself with most people, you must know yourself better than anyone else does. Tell your own story and be true to it.

Here's a great link to learn more about POV:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Understand Why You Write

I saw this cool mushroom on the side of the road over a year ago. It's uniqueness is obvious but I didn't know how much it inspired me, until it magically appeared again in the middle of Chapter One in Book Two of the Stelladaur series. And I don't mean I threw in a descriptive sentence about red and white speckled fungi for a mere botanical twist to the scene. The mushroom is significant to the story. Weird, I know. But it's a reminder to me of why I write. I write so the unexpected magical things in life come alive. In myself. In my life. On the page. It's that simple.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Trust Your Inner Voice

As an author, one of my mantras is this: Write from your heart. Edit from your head. One of the messages of my first YA novel, "The Stelladaur: Finding Tir Na Nog" is figuring out how to go beyond the menacing thoughts in your head so you can live and experience life from the heart. Not an easy thing to do. As children we did it naturally, but as we got older, we slowly forgot how. We may be left with a painful realization that our heart is buried under mindless layers of "stuff". People often say that stuff is "just life." Maybe so, but it's no way to truly live. Here's the paradox: It's in the going through of all the stuff that we learn to trust our inner voice.

Learning to trust our own inner voice is a slow process that requires honesty, courage and intuitiveness. These qualities rarely come naturally to teens or adults, so we need to create opportunities to allow them to emerge from within us. It can be as simple as taking some very deep breaths, walking a dog, digging in the garden, holding a baby, or watching the sun set. Spending time in nature always soothes the soul and calms the mind. If you can hear your inner voice during these simple pleasures, take it a step further and see what you can create in that space you've discovered. Creativity is the expression of our divinest self...Creativity is the language of our own inner voice. It's not a language you can learn from a blog post, in a class, or from anyone else. You're the teacher and the creator. Once you know that, then you'll trust your inner voice and live from the heart.