Sunday, May 27, 2012

The wrong POV

My point-of-view (POV) was playing a trick on me again. 

As a writer, I know how important POV is. The idea when using POV is to remain consistent. Remain in ONE person's POV during each episode or scene. Sometimes, however, I end up head-hopping or include someone else's POV in a chapter when the chapter is supposed to be written in another character's POV.


This is one of my faults as a writer and it can happen very easily. Sometimes, I may not even catch this mistake during edits! Still, I know I have to watch out for it when rereading manuscripts.

While working on the rewrites for Shadow of Samhain, I came across one scene in a chapter that presented two problems: One, that it was in the wrong character's POV and, two, it was one scene too many! My goal with each chapter was to keep it to two scenes (though an extra might've snuck in there somewhere). Since I had to have something else much more important happen in that very chapter, this scene got cut. I summarized what happened in this scene in my character's thoughts during the scene that followed, so it was all good.

Here is the scene:

The phone rang and Janay leaned against the wall as she answered it. “Hello?”

“Hi, Mom. It’s me.”

She smiled. “Hi, Malissa! I’m so glad that you’ve called!”

There was a silence, then Malissa asked, “Why?”

“Well, because we haven’t heard from you for a while,” Janay said, smiling as she sat at the kitchen table. She made sure her brown suede skirt wasn’t crumpled as she sat down and she adjusted the gold necklace with a golden heart locket across her white short-sleeved blouse. She moved a strand of hair from her eyes, putting it with the other straying hairs from the bun she had her hair up in. It was strange for her daughter to ask why she was glad to hear from her, but decided not to pursue it. She also decided not to pursue why her daughter sounded so uneasy. “How’s school?”

“Oh, school’s real good, Mom. The semester is out in just a few days and I think I did good on my finals.”

She nodded. Her daughter sounded more comfortable now. “That’s really great, honey. I’m sure you did very well. Are you going to come visit us for Christmas?”

“Oh, yeah, probably.” There was a pause, then she sounded uncomfortable again as she said, “Mom, I wanted to ask you about something.”

“What’s that?”

Another pause. “Well, um ... did you send me my old journal in the mail?”

She grinned. “Yes, I did. Did you get it?”

“Yes.” Another pause. “How did you find it?”

“Oh. Well, the night before I found it, I had a dream about this man. He told me that you needed your journal. I had no idea what he meant or why he was telling me this. That was all that he said: ‘Malissa needs the journal.’ I tried to ask him questions but it’s like he couldn’t hear me talking to him. I had actually found your journal in your room.” She bit her lip. Maybe she shouldn’t add that she had read the thing from front to back.

She smiled as she waited for her daughter’s response, remembering her dream. She had never seen the man in her dreams before, but he had a strange sense about him. She’d felt as though he was a part of her in some way. He was dressed all in white robes and he looked like an angel. Janay remembered how she had felt so secure and happy after she awoke from that dream.

The seconds ticked away and Malissa still hadn’t said anything. Was she doing something else now? If so, she was doing it awful quietly. She looked down at the placemat on the table, deciding to give her daughter a few minutes more as she absently tapped it with her manicured nail.

Malissa still wasn’t saying anything. She heard her steadily breathing on the other end, but didn’t even hear her whisper a response.

She moved the receiver from her ear to give it a quick inspection, ensuring the cord was still connected to it, then held it against her ear again. “Malissa?”

When she heard Malissa speak again, the voice on the other line sounded so alien, she at first thought it wasn’t her daughter. It must have been fear gripping Malissa’s throat as she managed to slowly ask, “What did this man look like?”