For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that I am doing some serious edits on Heirs of War right now. I have been lucky enough to get some great advice from a published author who has taken a bit of interest in the book. One of my biggest issues: POV switches. What does that mean? Well, I like to switch between different characters' perspectives.
In the same scene.
I was calling it third person omniscient, but you might have also heard it referred to as the head-bounce. This term is probably a bit more accurate. Omniscient is a breeze to write in for me. I, obviously, know what is going on in each of my characters' heads, whether major or minor characters. That's the beauty of being the god of this little fictional world I've created (and getting to smite people, but that's for a later blog).
As it turns out, writing in third person limited is much less confusing for the readers. Let that be Lesson Number One for you. Hopefully before you start writing your book because I will say that trying to fix that is a bitch and a half.
Another piece of advice I was given--and have been given frequently--was to cut back on how many characters' perspectives I write from. With five girls in the prophecy, I write from all five of their perspectives. And some other characters as well because they have important roles or because the scene just makes more sense when viewed from their eyes.
And this is where I am having the problem...I tried cutting two of the girls out tonight. Not even looking at the other scenes written from other characters' perspectives. Just focusing on the five main characters and how I can narrow that down for this book. And I can't.
You might be saying "Can't? Or Won't?" Well, to be honest, it's a little of both. Theoretically I could cut Terrena and Isauria's stories completely from this book and the book as a whole would make sense. But this is the trouble with writing a series. What I cut from this book messes up the next one. I know people say that you can fix that, but I honestly have no idea how. I would have to do flashbacks for Terrena. And for Isauria, there would just be no connection to her character whatsoever and she plays a much bigger role in book 2. So essentially I would be waiting to introduce one of my main characters until the second book.
Which leads me to this question: How much do you compromise your story when trying to make it marketable? I've said this before and I will say it again loudly: My goal is not to become a famous or successful published author. My goal has been and will always be to share the story of these five girls that have grown so close to my heart with other people. Why publish at all? Because I do have some business sense and this is actual work that I am doing.
That being said, I really don't want to be one of those authors that refuses to compromise anything because they think they already have the best thing since sliced bread. I like to think of myself as pretty open-minded and willing to accept criticisms. But what do I do if I feel like cutting those POVs entirely makes my book less-than? Do I compromise? Because I know the advice makes complete and absolute sense. One of the biggest complaints my beta-readers all had was that there were too many characters and it was hard to keep up with them all. Will ceasing the head-bouncing help this a little? Probably. Would limiting the story to only Zelene, Ariana, and Rhaya's perspectives help even more? Hell yes.
But would it be the same story? That, my friends, I am not so sure about.
I suppose that answer is for another day, though. Until then, I am going to keep the girls in and use a header for each POV change to see if that helps clear confusion. Wish me luck!