Monday, November 29, 2010

Writing Sample Tag - POV

So I was chatting with Sheri at Writer's Ally (link) about killing a MC (main character). She did it, I did it, then she suggested we do corresponding posts today. (Me: Sure! :o)

She's looking at dialogue; my bit is on point of view (POV).

My second MS is a prequel-sequel to my very first book Dragonfly. The story is told through three journals given to the MC of Dragonfly, and it's like Rashomon--one complete account of the events is told followed by a second, and then the third. And in each version, the reader learns more and/or sees a different side of the story.

It was a lot of fun to write, and I think it turned out well. It was the first time I ever had a beta reader say she read something I wrote in one sitting. Wow. (Just between us, that made my life.)

I don't have a title I'm happy with, so I've been calling it Found Objects. It's older YA, possibly New Adult, complete at 80K words. And since it's a prequel-sequel, readers should know who's going to die going in. The Why behind the death (the secret revealed in Dragonfly) is a more interesting plot driver, IMO.

It's also the first time I attempted a male POV. See what you think!

Plot summary:

In the late-1970s three friends graduate from high school with big dreams.

Alex dreams of leaving the small, coastal town where they grew up and taking the art world by storm; Bill plans on becoming a super-rich developer and transforming their hometown into a high-end resort destination; Meg dreams of marrying Bill and taking her place as a leader of local society.

The three realize their dreams, but manipulations along the way create secrets that leave one isolated, one heartbroken, and the third dead.

May 31
            Margaret Louise Kyser. Mrs. William S. Kyser. William and Margaret Kyser. Bill and Meg. Bill and Meg Kyser. Bill and Meg Kyser cordially invite you to their estate on Bono Island
            I love starting a new journal. The blank pages just waiting to be filled with all the fun and exciting things about to happen to me.
            It’s almost as fun as planning my wedding. And planning my wedding is so much more fun than going to high school.
I’ve actually been planning my wedding since I was a little girl dressed up in my grandmother’s chiffon nightgowns and scarves. Meeting Billy provided the face to my mystery groom, and what a perfect face. I knew the minute I saw him that he was the one. Tall and slim with soft brown hair and beautiful blue eyes—it was love at first sight.
             We’ll live happily every after, of course, with little Will, John, Lucy and Megan. Will named after Billy and John for my daddy. Lucy is for my best friend Alexandra Marie LaSalle, who has the coolest name ever. We call her Lexy for short, and I know, Lucy’s not the same as Lexy. But it reminds me of Lexy, and I want my little girl to be just like her—creative, beautiful, full of flair, and loyal to the end.

May 31
Salt. Fresh fish. Warm, moist humidity, moldering wood. The air smells like bright oranges and deep reds, white-hot yellows and brown. Low buzzing of construction down to my right, a strong rush of wind, pushing my hair back. Crash… sizzle. Crash… sizzle. The ocean is rough and happy today, beckoning me to run down and join in its dance.
So my best friend Meg gave me a journal as a graduation present, and here I am writing in it. It’s funny. I'd actually considered following her example and keeping a record of all my thoughts and feelings. Then she surprised me with this gift. Let’s see…
It’s a crazy time for all of us. So much is changing. This morning I decided to run to my usual escape down by the shore to relax and find my center. I was meditating when I remembered being a little girl and stripping off all my clothes so I could run and jump naked into the surf. It was always so warm and swirly, and I would pretend I could turn into a mermaid and swim deep down to rule some magical kingdom.
               The memory made me smile, and I peeped through one eye at my surroundings. Nope, too many early vacationers to attempt a repeat performance. Even here on Fort Morris Road, the beach condos are taking over. Damn Bill Kyser. His big plan is only going to make it all worse.

May 31
            Getting married right out of high school was not in the plan.
Bryant and I had the entire thing mapped out. We even ran it past the retired veterans at the small business center in Fairhaven. They were impressed. Said if we could convince farmers south of Fort Morris to stop planting sweet potatoes and cotton in the sand and sell us their land, this thing could work.
Then Meg tells me she’s pregnant.
I can’t believe I was so stupid, and after how careful I’ve been. Damn Sadie Hawkins. That’s when it happened. We’d all been drinking, and Meg was dancing around in that short skirt. We got back to Dad’s truck, and I couldn’t wait to pull her onto my lap...
Careless. Not staying focused. Bryant’s going to sh-t, and after two years of planning.
Bryant and I got our big idea one summer in Florida. We’d spent the first two months working on my uncle’s farm, driving combines and stacking hay bales. It was hard work and in this heat I hated it. I told Bryant we'd get the farms out of here if it was the last thing we did. He laughed, but Bryant’s a good guy. We’ve been friends since we were kids.
Bryant’s grandparents own a house in South Walton, and for ten years developers have been going down there, taking old worthless beachfronts and converting them into luxury beach communities. Some have full-time residents and some are rentals.
I decided we'd bring that to our town. We’d turn those swaths of open sand around Ocean Pass and Lost Key into tourist dollars with our names stamped on every one. It was going to work, and it was going to work big.
Now I see it all slipping away.

* * *

So there you have it. I feel like the voices are distinct, but I'm the writer. You tell me. In the case of my one male voice, I tried to keep it short, focused, driving. Just the facts, ma'am. (That's also his personality.)

What do you think? How do you guys handle different points of view? Ever tried it? Ever killed a MC? 

Til Thursday~ <3  

And don't forget to visit Sheri's blog! (link)


Jessica Bell said...

These are VERY cool :o) Can I make a suggestion with the male POV? Make his sentences shorter. More lazy. Most men don't like to write much detail, (I find, anyway). So for eg. you could change "We even ran it past the retired veterans at the small business center in Fairhaven." To "Ran it past retired veteran at small biz centre in Fairhaven." You see what I mean?

Unknown said...

I want to read this one too! :) I've killed off a few characters, including a beloved horse, but never the MC.

Stina said...

Great job with the voices. I haven't tried multiple povs in a book. I have, though, killed off key characters, just not the main one (since the book was in a single pov).

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Hey, hon, great job! At first I thought I related to Meg. Then I thought I related to Lexy. But both are totally distinct. Nice. And then there's Bill...I think I'm loving his voice.

Vicki Rocho said...

Love this premise & you're good with the voices!

There were a couple places where it seemed a little more detail slipped through than would be found in a typical journal entry.

I'm already trying to figure out who died and who did it...

Dawn Ius said...

Shucks, Jessica beat me to my suggestion :-)
I think the voices ARE distinct and enjoyed both excerpts. Nicely done!

Mason Canyon said...

Great read. Enjoyed it and am trying to guess who gets killed by who.

Thoughts in Progress

LTM said...

hey, guys! Thanks for the feedback--and this does need a revision, so all comments are welcome~

@Dawn, I mentioned to Jessica, I think her comment is right on--esp. considering setting. At the same time, this character is super-smart and extremely driven/focused. I do agree he should be more clipped, but I'm hesitant to make him too lazy...

It's a great consideration for the revision stage~ THANKS! :o) <3

Old Kitty said...

I think you've got three very distinct voices there and would have guessed their dominant personalities without reading your summary!! So well done you!!!

Take care

Carolyn Abiad said...

I'll take the Lexy POV, please! When I read multiple POVs, I always find myself gravitating to one more than the other. But that's just me! As for killing off an MC...have plans for that myself and I'm not enjoying the prospect of doing it...

Julie Musil said...

That plot summary is AWESOME! And I think you did a great job with the different pov's. I did try this with my first book, and learned a lot from the experience. Since then, I've kept it to one pov, but I'm always willing to give it a try.

I haven't killed a mc. YET!

Lydia Kang said...

I can definitely tell the voices are different and with very distinct personalities. Way to go!

LTM said...

Thanks, guys--I've been able to email most of you back--@Lydia, thanks for reading. I'm sure my wonderful crit partners can give suggestions for revision... it's holding at the moment, but I think it's strong. Can't wait to get back to it~ :o) <3

DEZMOND said...

ah, I hope your MC is a naughty person, otherwise I wouldn't like seeing him killed :((((

Hart Johnson said...

Love the story premise--you really have that tag piece for this one down. And the voices are definitely distinct and between them, give a much better picture. I like Lexy, but you could have predicted that, I think *wink*

My only hesitation is I think you need to give Bill a solid motivation to write ANYTHING. The personality seems such that he's not a journaling kind of guy--maybe, given the timing--these are letters to a cousin in Vietnam or something? Does it work if part of it is letters?

Ella said...

Leigh-I love the diary format, inside
peeks into their thoughts, great job!

Man wise, I think you handled it well, short, precise, but how many men, could be a computer type log, that may work.

I love it, so far...more please! ;-D
I so could relate to the shore, funny I grew up on Norris St~

PK HREZO said...

Hey, girl! I saw this the other day but wanted to wait til I had time to read it.
Great job with the voices! Very distinct. I agree with Jessica's comment too... it will only enhance the male voice, but what you have so far is very strong.
I did get the feeling Meg was very young and that she kind of idolizes Lexy. Lexy seems very relatable and carefree and fun.
I love the diary format as well. so you're in the New Adult realm as well with your new ms??? I really hope this category takes off!!!! :)

LTM said...

Hey, P--Thanks! Always love the positive feedback. This is actually an *old* MS that was next in line after my very first MS. Book 2 in a series.

Problem: Book 1 needs major revision.

As for genre, Book 1 is solidly YA, so this would pull in YA readers, but if it stood alone, it would fall more into that New Adult genre, I'm thinking because the action starts after HS graduation and continues past college...

THANKS for reading! :o)

Talli Roland said...

Love the different voices - I think you've done it very well. I agree with Jesscia's advice, though. I think that would make it even stronger.

Great job!

JRichard said...

Hey, I thought I was the one calling it Found Objects!

LTM said...

@JRM--Nerd! B/c I said to call it that~ ;p <3U

Nicole Zoltack said...

Wow, you did a great job creating distinct voices for them all. :)

Unknown said...

Great examples! All three characters have definitive voices. Bill, in particular, jumps off the page (screen) at me.

LTM said...

ooo--Thanks, KM! :o) <3