Monday, January 28, 2008

Point Of View

One thing I tell my students is to stick to one point of view in a short story, two if you absolutely must, but with two be aware that you're sacrificing some immediacy as the reader is forced to jump around from head to head. We're accustomed, after all, to seeing reality from inside ONE head, our own. This seems to me sound general advice.

So why am I writing a story with -- count 'em -- six point-of-view characters?

It is a novella. Even so, six seems excessive. But I genuinely can't figure out any other way to tell this story. Especially since at the end.... But I'm not going either to give away the ending or to rely on it as an excuse. Six POVs is too many. But I'm doing it, can't figure out any other way to do it, and just have to hope to hell it works. I won't know until I finish and ASIMOV'S either accepts or rejects it.

Sheila Williams just rejected a possible novelization of my December '08 Tor novel, STEAL ACROSS THE SKY. However, her reason was that there just isn't time to get it into print, broken into four sections, before the book itself appears. This is reasonable, since magazines have a lead time of several months and I waited to long to submit it to her, having been not paying sufficient attention. Mea culpa. Still, it was cheering to hear that she liked the novel. We take what we can get.

3 comments:

bluesman miike Lindner said...

Multiple POV stories...well, lemme ask this: if a guy with multiple personalities threatens suicide, is that a hostage situation?

Mark said...

So sending it to Stan at ANALOG is out of the question? From your description, "Steal Across the Sky" seems to be simon pure SF.

karen wester newton said...

Nancy-- I don't mind reading stories where the POV shits shifts so long as it's always clear whose POV we're in--and so long as they're 3rd person. Multiple 1st person books drive me nuts. Well, maybe that's more of a putt than a drive.