The POV debate

As I have stated in a previous entry, I’ve had a long-time ban on books written in first person POV (known as FPPOV for the rest of this entry).  That ban ended, though, upon giving in and reading Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless, because then I read Slammed and Point of Retreat.  This past weekend, I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which is another book written in FPPOV, and also another book that had a gutting, heart-wrenching effect on me.

So all this crying I’ve been doing over these books lately – all written in FPPOV, no less – have me thinking:  is FPPOV the new “thing” in popular fiction?  Because all of these books that have knocked me to my knees with emotion are best sellers, and they’re all written in first person.   Is that where it’s at now in the world of fiction?

I’m struggling to write my own book.  Each and every sentence feels like a monumental task because I’m still trying to find my characters’ voices.  The idea of just one voice, flowing so freely in “me” speak, is appealing.  But I’m a third person kind of girl.  I love third person.  I’ve embraced it my entire writing life.  Third person POV and the Oxford comma are my two favorite parts of the writing process.  Can I write my story, and tell it as authentically as I want to, if I’m only inside one character’s head and only sharing her voice?  One of the reasons I love writing romances is because I have two characters who are world apart at the beginning who have to find their way to a spot where their orbits intersect.  If I’m only sharing one voice and one character’s thoughts, I can’t do that.

So what’s the answer – is FPPOV the way to go now?  Do readers have a particular narrative that they prefer?  Am I using this debate as just an excuse to put off writing even more?  I need answers!


Feel like beating my head against a wall!

I feel like I’m never going to be a productive writer again.  I have tiny, fragmented ideas for three separate novels bouncing around inside my head like fireflies on a summer night.  Nothing is longer than a few lines, and the scenes are fleeting at best, coming and going before I can even begin to write them down.  I have no idea which one to settle on and how to ignore the other scenes from the other stories once I start working on one particular idea.  UGH!  How does anyone ever get anything done?

Somebody that I Used to Know

About two years ago, I lost touch with someone very near and dear to myself: me. Up until that fateful day, I could be found toiling away in my house, creating new recipes, cooking things from scratch, and sewing by hand. I collected aprons, Depression glass, and old time radio shows. Then, I turned a corner. In some ways, it was fantastic. In others, though, it was detrimental.

See, two and a half years ago, I published my first fanfiction story. It was the first time that anyone had read my writing (outside of blogging) and the absolute first time that anyone had ever read any work of fiction by me. I did it because I loved to write, believed that I had a skill for it, and wanted to try it out. As it turned out, the community for which I wrote the stories was very receptive, loved my stories, and wanted more. Because I have an addictive personality, I threw myself into fic writing. Now, I have over 800,000 words of fic archived on and when I look in the mirror, I don’t know who the hell I am anymore. Don’t get me wrong – sharing my fiction was wonderful because I realized that maybe I really did have a talent for turning words into stories that both captivated and touched the reader. Had I never published that first story, I’d still be wondering. The problem is that when you write fanfiction, you normally get involved in the fandom of the show/movie/book you’re writing fic for. And getting involved in the fandom is the problem, at least for me. (If you’ve never been involved in a fandom – let me explain it simply. “Fandom” is when you get really worked up about the most trivial and pointless of things regarding the show/movie/book that you love.) I have opinions on everything and everyone and I don’t like it. I don’t like the fact that I get irritated by people I’ve never spoken to, other than in a Tumblr ask box or on Twitter. I really don’t like the fact that I’ve literally become addicted to writing two characters. A novelist has to move on from her characters when it’s time to focus on the next story. I struggle with saying goodbye to this couple that I’ve spent so long writing, falling out of “love” with them in a way, and moving on. And the thing is, I want to move on. I have two gorgeous characters (okay, actually 8 total, but I’m only focusing on two) waiting in the wings and their story deserves to be told. And the best part of all of it is that they’re ALL mine! No Hollywood conglomerate owns these two characters; they are completely my creation. They are beautiful and flawed and they have a strong story to tell – I just have to tell it.

So all of that brings me back to my first thought – reconnecting with myself. I have to flush fandom and those characters that I don’t own out of my head. I have to get up from my desk, log off Twitter and Tumblr, and do the things I used to do. It’s only once I shut off those influences that I’ll be able to dim the voices that have lived in my head for so long and let two others begin to speak loud and clear. That might mean picking up my yo-yo quilt for the first time in two years, or focusing on that unfinished cross-stitch picture. I have to reconnect with the person I used to be in order to move forward. It feels like a bit of self-detox and it’s highly challenging, but it’s my reality and what I’m ready to tackle. This past weekend, my husband and I did a few things around the house that allowed me to feel like the old Rachel, the one not chained to her laptop. It was nice. I actually like that woman. I need to let her shine through more because she has a fantastic story to tell. She just needs a little push in the right direction.

“Now is the Hour” – a World War II-era short story

Ben told Iris a lot of things over the years as they played in the street or went ice skating on the pond. And as much as she told Ben about her hopes and her dreams, there was one thing she always held back. She never told Ben, or anyone else for that matter, what her biggest secret was. It was the kind of thing that Mama had told her girls should never talk about, especially not to the boy himself. A boy should be the one to come calling on a girl, not the other way around. “The fact is,” Mama told Iris as she dropped warm dollops of butter over the mashed potatoes on Sunday afternoon, “that good girls never chase after boys. Your job is to look pretty and smile – if it’s meant to be, he’ll notice.”

He’s about to go off to war and she’s not sure when he’ll be back. All Iris has to do is get up the nerve to tell Ben how she feels before he leaves. After all, he was the one always encouraging her to go after what she wanted.

Full story located HERE

“Chance and Happenstance” – a World War II-era short story

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and catapulted America into the war, Ella was just past her seventeenth birthday. Up until that very moment when her quiet Sunday afternoon had been torn apart by the steady but frantic words that poured through the radio speakers, the war was just something she heard Pa talk about in passing. Life inside their small but neat brick home outside of the Indiana town of Greensburg was unaffected by the news on the front page of Pa’s paper or before Mama’s favorite dramatic radio show. Living in a house tucked against the woods and surrounded by farmland that was thousands of miles away from the action meant that it had very little impact on the Lansing family. On that Sunday when it all changed, though, they were sitting around the big table that filled the dining room to near-capacity, eating dessert, drinking coffee, and talking about Pastor George’s Sunday sermon. They paid no mind to the orchestral concert playing on the radio; it was just background noise. The signal was scratchy that day, clouds thick between there and where it originated in Indianapolis, but the moment those words, “We interrupt this broadcast…,” cut through the calm reverie of the music and blasted into the room, all conversation ceased. Mama, Pa, Ella, and her younger sister, Louise, all sat ramrod still as the news poured in. Ella covered her mouth in shock but even right then, she knew that she wanted to help.

She meets him in a field hospital in Belgium in 1944. The Battle of the Bulge rages nearby but in his eyes, she finds a small respite from it all. Once he returns to the line, though, will she ever see him again or was it all just chance?

Full story located HERE