Welcome to Workshop Wednesday where I invite other writers to share their areas of expertise with you. My first guest is Australian erotic author Kylie Scott whose debut novel Flesh will be released by Momentum/PanMacmillan in October. Here’s a little about Kylie: I write erotic romances set in gritty worlds. Sometimes with Zombies, sometimes without. First book (with Zombies) is due out late 2012 with Momentum. I live in Queensland with my two kids and wonderful, long-suffering husband who wishes I’d turn off the computer and put down the iPhone more often. I read lots and eat white chocolate. Coffee is my drug of choice.
And here’s a teaser about her upcoming release Flesh:
Ali has been hiding in an attic since civilisation collapsed eight weeks ago. When the plague hit, her neighbours turned into mindless, hungry, homicidal maniacs. Daniel has been a loner his entire life. Then the world empties and he realises that being alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Finn is a former cop who is desperate for companionship, and willing to do anything it takes to protect the survivors around him. When the three cross paths they band together; sparks fly, romance blooms in the wasteland and Ali, Daniel and Finn bend to their very human needs in the ruins of civilisation. Lust, love and trust all come under fire in Flesh as the three band together to survive, hunted through the suburban wastelands.
I can’t wait to read it! So welcome Kylie, and tell us about Deep Point of View because I know that’s a strong feature of the novel you’ve just sold:
Kylie Scott: To me, Deep Point of View is writing from within the character’s head. Sound a little freaky? Don’t be afraid. No brain-transplanting required, and yet—that’s kind of our aim. We want to give your reader an experience they won’t forget. To hook them and drag them deep into your wonderful story. To submerge them within your character’s minds. It’s about more than making them privy to your heroine’s thoughts and feelings though; it’s allowing them to experience the story with your heroine as the conduit.
First up, let’s look at what it’s not…
Rebecca sat in the Doctor’s office. She was a bundle of nerves. These places always made her feel awkward and uncomfortable. She thought they were always so cold and clinical. She watched the receptionist like a hawk and waited desperately for her turn.
Now, let’s try giving that sterling piece of narrative a Deeper Point of View…
Rebecca perched on the edge of the sofa and resisted the urge to wrap her arms around herself. Or better yet, to grab her handbag and flee. Her fingers fussed with the hem of her skirt and twirled her wedding band around and around. They wouldn’t sit still. Her mother would have been appalled.
She was rife with goose flesh. The air-conditioning in the Doctor’s office was freezing and every wall was painted arctic white. Not a single picture in sight to brighten the place up. Not a splash of colour. It didn’t help the state of her nerves and nor did the lingering scent of bleach.
How much longer? It had been an hour already. She had to be next. The slick receptionist avoided her eyes with practiced ease and continued to tap away at her keyboard.
Okay, so I still don’t think it’s some of my best work but we’ve added more detail. Note how we’ve threaded in some of the five senses. We’ve layered the piece to give it depth. What is she thinking? What is she feeling? Are there any smells, sensations, memories etc that we can weave in to the writing to really make our reader experience the moment through Rebecca.
What we are taking out is also important. My watch words are these: Rebecca…
Thought, felt, watched, smelt, tasted, remembered, gazed, imagined, touched, etc.
Got a feel for it? Because every time we write ‘Rebecca saw the gerbil escape its cage…’ as opposed to ‘the gerbil scurried from its cage…’ we are putting a barrier between our reader and Rebecca. We are getting in the way. Because while we as the writer need to think deeply about what Rebecca thought, felt, tasted, touched, imagined, remembered etc, what we don’t want to do is spoon feed the reader these facts. We want to give the reader the experience of them. In other words…
If you’re inside Rebecca’s head, the one thing Rebecca is not thinking is ‘Rebecca thought of the gerbil’. She’s just thinking it, period.
Thanks for that, Kylie. I love seeing examples in a tutorial because they help relate the topic to your own writing. For a masterclass, read Kylie’s novel Flesh when it comes out in October – available where all good ebooks are sold. It’s a fabulous example of Deep Point of View. Do you have a favourite novel whose Point of View sucked you in so completely you felt as if you were the viewpoint character? I’d love you to drop a comment below and let us know so we can read it too. And don’t forget to tune in to next week’s Workshop Wednesday where journalist and Young Adult writer Cheryse Durrant discusses Writers Working with the Media. You can subscribe to this blog using the links on the top left. Cheers!