Thursday, February 3, 2011
JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU'RE SAFE
The first big shock was something called Point of View. Since I’d only been a reader of fiction, rather than a writer, POV puzzled me. I talked with two would-be-authors and asked about this term. Each of them explained…and explained…and showed…and finally told me one day it would just click, like a light bulb turned on. Actually, this happened, but alas, I dealt with only two POVs—the hero’s and the heroine’s in third person.
Since I’ve always been a self-learner, I began to rely on "How to Write Fiction" books for enlightenment. One neat little book was totally devoted to “mastering point of view.” Just what I needed. Do you know how many Points of View exist? At least six: Unlimited POV, First-Person POV, Inner Limited POV, Second-person POV, Outer Limited POV, and Combo POV. Then the writer may combine any of the six with “Multiple POVs and Challenging Perspectives.”
How did I deal with this conundrum? I pretended only two categories existed. Since I wrote romance, I felt fairly confident. So far, not one editor has asked me why I mixed Inner Limited POV with Unlimited POV.
My second learning experience was Passive Writing. Although I didn’t know the term, I did learn that all of us had probably studied it in high school, and knew it as Voice--with action verbs or without. Well, I took care of that right away by going to the Spell Check Options in Word, opening Check Grammar, and making certain every little box contained a little blue check, especially the one titled “Passive Writing.” From my first editor, I discovered the Find button, typed in the insignificant word “was,” indicating a passive sentence. In my first editing experience with this real editor, she located 972 times I’d used “was.” That’s a close approximation. Why did the publisher ever take such a messy manuscript?
The third, and last, learning episode for now is Formatting. A new phenomenon is sweeping through the e-presses community. Earlier, the guidelines stated only a few requirements: a particular font, double-spaced, one-inch margins, and page numbers. Now that I’m working with several publishers, I’m wondering why e-presses don’t standardize their formatting requirements? Each one has a long, detailed list of tasks the author must accomplish. (I do appreciate the publisher stating “do the best you can—we don’t expect you to be an electronic genius.) I admit I spent two entire days trying to change my “curly quotes” to “straight quotes.” When I learned how, I shoved my desk chair back, stood, punched my fists into the air, and yelled, “Yeeesss!” My husband came running to make certain I had not lost my mind. No, I had not lost anything. I’d found a valuable tool.
TEXAS PROMISE: The Cameron Sisters-Book I
*Love Romances Café-Best Historical Romance 2010-Honorable Mention
*The Romance Studio-Five Hearts
*Love Western Romance-Four Spurs
*Sherry Gloag, Reader-Five Hearts
*Steph Burkhart, Reviewer-Five Hearts