The Write Word with Wareeze
Hello Again Friends,
Thank you for sharing your time with me. If you are a new reader of Soul Mate Publishing’s blog, I write historical romance novels using my pen name, Wareeze Woodson. My first book published by Soul Mate is titled Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman, then An Enduring Love, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices, and Bittersweep, all available on Amazon.
We have discussed many topics in the past months, however, I feel the main character’s point of view is worth another look. I have used passages from my books to illustrate my point. I shall do so again today.
When necessary facts relative to the story are imparted to the reader, often there is an information dump from the author’s point of view. If a writer has hopped into another character’s point of view, examine the scene, not the setting of who, what, when, where, and why, but the scene itself. In this discussion, the heroine is the main character under scrutiny. Look at her. Her name is mentioned in the first line, thus it is in her point of view. What is the main character doing? What does the she see? What does she hear, smell, touch, or even taste? These happenings will point to the character’s point of view.
In Bittersweep, the heroine steps off the train (see) the town of Bittersweep after a fifteen years absence. She left as a child of five. She is clutching her carpetbag (touch) and she (smells) the aroma floating out of the Inn across the street. A team of runaway horses barrel down on her. She (hears) the thunder of hooves heading in her direction. All of this is in her point of view. Four of the five senses are used to keep the reader looking through her eyes. (see, hear, smell, touch)
After fifteen years, can I find my mother’s box? Can I remember exactly where she tucked the chest away? I was only five. Will her box still be there, hidden, or will it be destroyed?
Elizabeth Campbell peered out the window of the passenger car as the locomotive puffed into the station at Bittersweep, Texas, belching ash from the smokestack. The train came to a screeching halt beside the station. She folded the newspaper dated August 10, 1897, and positioned it under her arm slowly rising from her seat. Drawing a deep breath, she curled her fingers around the handle of her carpetbag. Tension bunched her neck and shoulder muscles as she stepped out onto the wooden platform.
The warm midday sun of late summer washed the scene in heat and vivid light but did nothing to lessen the dark apprehension or the pain in her heart. Perhaps I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life. I didn’t want to return, but I’m back. I need this teaching position, desperately.
She followed her shadow into the shade afforded by the overhang of the roof to the train station’s ticket office. At least I may have a chance to discover what really happened all those years ago.
Allowing her gaze to survey the little settlement nestled deep in the piney woods of East Texas, Elizabeth found much had changed. The sleepy community had grown into a small township. The once-familiar dry dust kicked up by horses’ hooves, the creak of saddle leather, the rumble of wagon wheels rolling past, and boots tramping along the boardwalk remained relatively the same, only more so—more of everything—noise, people, and shops. Faint odors of roasting meat floated out from the inn’s dining room across the street and pummeled her with memories. Memories she couldn’t shake. Memories were one of the reasons she’d been afraid to return to Bittersweep. Still, now that she had returned, she must find answers.
Tormenting glimpses from fifteen years ago flashed inside her head. The sounds of crackling, consuming fire and the acrid smell of smoke rising above the trees from where her home once stood roared through her mind. The noise of rattling wheels beneath the wagon carrying her away from Bittersweep ripped through her memories dragging her back into the past. Her stomach knotted and she fought down the need to heave up the few bites of apple she’d eaten on the train. She swallowed, forcing herself to relax.
Conscious of her long hair flowing down her back in waves, always admired for the shiny thickness and rich dark color, she ducked her head. Elizabeth hoped nobody remembered the larkspur blue color of her eyes, a dead giveaway as to her identity. Save for that, after fifteen years, none would recall the looks of a five-year-old child. She avoided direct eye contact with the people on the walkway to cover the trepidation roaming free in her heart.
Although from here she couldn’t possibly see where her home once stood, she avoided looking to the South. An overwhelming urge to gaze in that direction finally claimed her, and she stepped off the platform, coming to a dead-still stop. Lost in memories, she stared at the distant trees. For a brief moment, the noise faded, smells ceased to exist for her, and even the heat failed to penetrate. Tremors of pounding hooves vibrated through her shoes, coming closer and harder until the rattling of wagon wheels jerked her out of her reverie with a start, but in that confused instant she couldn’t move. The hammering of her heart obliterated all sounds again and the air swooshed from her lungs when she saw the out-of-control team bearing down on her. She tried to move out-of-the-way, but she remained paralyzed with fright.
Gloved hands grasped her shoulders, jerking her back against a hard, lean body as the crazed horses stampeded past. Weak with relief and trembling from head to toe, she gradually gained control enough to realize she rested against a muscled male chest. The pounding of his heart echoed in her ears and against her back matching the rapid beat of her own. She glanced over her shoulder and looked up—way up into his hazel eyes, grim, hard, and sparking with cold anger.
Did I change the point of view when the hero enters the picture? Not at this time. I continued in the heroine’s point of view with her reaction to the incident, including her inspection of the tall hero. I did not switch point of view until the third chapter. When changing pov, always place the character’s name in the first line or so. That establishes the character whose point of view the reader is entering. Below is the hero’s pov.
JP would be the first to admit the new teacher’s appeal hit him squarely between the eyes, her trim figure, her lovely face, and the graceful way she carried herself. Certain he’d never met the lovely Elizabeth before, he wondered why her eyes, at least the color, seemed familiar, compelling with the ability to enchant. Looking deeply into her eyes had held him spellbound. At the edge of his consciousness, something drifted, deeply buried.
He shook his head to clear it. No need to moon over a pretty face. Besides, she was standoffish, or had taken him in dislike immediately. He didn’t know which. Perhaps concern for her new position made her overly cautious. He frowned. She certainly hadn’t demonstrated a prudent nature by her foolish actions earlier.
This is a start of a new scene, however the reader is in his head (sequel), not viewing his actions in the beginning of the scene to follow. (Scene-Sequel) Still, his identity was established with his name (JP) at the first sentence. The reader can identify whose head we are delving into with this information.
I hope this post has helped clear up some points in the point of view of a character. Thanks for sharing your precious time with me. For further information about my writing, visit my website: www.wareezewoodson.com. Leave a comment. I look forward to hearing from you.
By the way, Bittersweep has been released on Amazon. If you pick up a copy, I hope you enjoy the story as much as I loved writing it.