Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

between the sheets: head-hopping & POV

The questions I get asked most often by people looking to write their first book, are always about Point of View. Which characters head to be inside while writing a scene. When to change. How to change. Whether to change at all. How to track changes.

which character?

Cleverer people than I am say that it should be in the POV of the person with the most to lose by the revelations in that scene. I'm far more insitncitve than that. At this stage I just know whose eyes I am looking through in any given scene. Emotionaly I think it's better to be inside the head of the person who is feeling it the most. Whether that be elation, nerves, confusion, love, anger, terror... Readers can hook onto those emotions and be taking on a roller coaster ride. In my third book MARRIAGE MAKE-OVER the entire book was in the heroine's POV. Start to finish. Because the hero knew what he wanted - her. She was the one with the most to lose, the most growth to make, so it was far more interesting being with her as she struggled and triumphed.

when to change?

Again alot of it comes down to insitnct. I'm all for a nice cliffhanger! I love it when a character builds to a point where they ask themself a great grand question and.... point of view change. Perhaps the other character answers it for us, or them. Or perhaps the tension continues to build ;). I love a good segue as well. In Kissing a Fool I finished off a scene in the first chapter with Kendall sitting on the bottom of the shower. Straight cut to Hud in his shower as well. I'm a yin and yang kinda girl. I looove balance and symetry.

how to change?

When I wrote my first book, The Wedding Wish, whenever I changed POV I put a space between the last line of his, and the first line of hers, believing that would help readers differentiate whose head they were in and quick. But when the book actually turned up, I found those spaces clunky. Since then I have always been careful to make my changes of POV clear in other ways.

One way to do this is by putting the POV person's name clearly at the start of the sentence/paragraph. AND at the switch point give the new character something concrete to do or think. I do the very same thing at the beginning of any new chapter/scene to get the reader into the write POV in an instant.

These are a few I have used to date in Kissing a Fool.

eg. Kendall yanked the towel to her chest in a move of pure instinct.

eg. Hud ran a hand over his face and stared into the tree line.

eg. Kendall looked past Hud for an escape route.
eg. What on earth is he going on about?
Kendall thought.

how to track changes?

Since I am a bit of a messy writer while in the first draft I keep track by actually colouring all of my heroine's POV words purple and my hero in blue (as above). A bit weird to get used to but now I find it really easy. Gives me a very clear look at the POV balance as well when I do a 6 page "Print Preview".

Now the POV doesn't need to be balanced. There is no rule telling me that I have to write 60% heroine and 40% hero or any such thing, but again it's all about the balance, the yin and yang thing for me I think. Too much blue and I start to feel like my left leg is longer than my right and I'll walk funny all day.

And I always leave a line space at the end of a scene which I find a much more comfortable read.

In the end I'd do whatever suits you. I know authors who head hop brilliantly, (change from one POV to another mid-scene) and others who would never head hop in the one scene. I do both!!! Depends on who wants to say more and when ;). I just make sure to make the change OBVIOUS so the reader doesn't get halfway through the sentence and think "now whose green eyes am I looking at???"

For the journey of writing a Harlequin Romance from initial idea to 'the end', check out the whole Between the Sheets series