Another View of Point of View and a Christmas Giveaway!

Another View of Point of View and a Christmas Giveaway!

Announcing two new Christmas short stories, with a Giveaway! (Giveaway details are at the bottom of the post)

Summer wrote about her viewpoint on point of view and I would like to contribute mine.

Jane Austen rarely entered Mr. Darcy’s mind, but devotes a full paragraph to it shortly before Elizabeth and Jane are to leave Netherfield Park.

To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence—Elizabeth had been at Netherfield long enough. She attracted him more than he liked…. He wisely resolved to be particularly careful that no sign of admiration should now escape him, nothing that could elevate her with the hope of influencing his felicity; sensible that if such an idea had been suggested, his behavior during the last day must have material weight in confirming or crushing it. Steady to his purpose, he scarcely spoke ten words to her through the whole of Saturday, and though they were at one time left by themselves for half-an-hour, he adhered most conscientiously to his book, and would not even look at her.

This confirms that Darcy is attracted to Elizabeth and that he is proud. He assumes that any display of interest on his part would attract her. It also speaks to his basic integrity. Many men would not care about the hopes they inadvertently raised.

I often look at scenes from different characters’ points of view. If I am writing a scene between Elizabeth and Darcy, I will usually write it from the point of view of the character whose emotions are the ones I wish to portray. If Elizabeth is attracted to, repelled by, or even indifferent to Darcy in a scene, her point of view is the one I want. If the reader knows that they are now attracted to each other but something is keeping them apart, it isn’t as important whose point of view is used.

If I wish to conceal something a character knows, I cannot use his point of view unless he logically wouldn’t think about what he is thinking at that time. In the above example, it would be ridiculous for Darcy to think, “…and I despise Mr. Wickham because he tried to elope with my fifteen-year-old sister,” especially since Mr. Wickham hasn’t yet come into the neighborhood.

Fire Netherfield -McMann&Hanford thumbIn The Fire at Netherfield Park we used six points of view to portray the fire. The first point of view was from an unimportant added character. There were two choices if we wanted to make it clear that the fire was an accident. We could have a lengthy investigation into the fire or show how the fire started. The lengthy investigation would be unrealistic for the time period, since the fire started in the kitchen.

The other five points of view were used because no one character saw everything. Elizabeth’s point of view is used partially to show her dislike of Darcy and her surprise at his behavior. Darcy’s thoughts were uninteresting at the time. He wanted to save people from the fire and was not particularly concerned about what tools he used. All of that could be inferred from what Elizabeth saw.

MrCollins Deception -McMann&HanfordIn Mr. Collins’ Deception we wrote about a man who was pretending to be something he wasn’t. If the story had not gone into Mr. Collins’ mind, it would have been very boring and somewhat confusing. We tried to make it so his actions were completely logical, consistent with Pride and Prejudice, but interpreted very differently. For example, when Mr. Collins discovered that Lady Catherine gave a one year’s probationary period before she would bestow the living, he prepared before arriving for the interview. He carefully looked around the interview room. At an appropriate time, he said,

“I couldn’t help but notice your magnificent chimney piece. It not only adorns the room, it goes perfectly with the furniture.” I didn’t turn to look at it until after I’d named it, so she’d know I’d noticed it before.

“It should be magnificent. It cost me eight hundred pounds.”

I stifled my shock both at the cost and at her blatant mention of it. “What wonderful taste you have,” I forced myself to say, a year already starting to seem like a longer time than I’d originally thought. “The chimney piece is a superb addition to the chamber. Although I have trouble looking at the room when I want to pay full attention to your questions and your wisdom.”

If the reader is not in Mr. Collins’ mind, the scene would not work.

I usually prefer to read from a single point of view, but as a writer, I find different points of view add to the story. It doesn’t hurt that some readers prefer it.

Do the authors have other reasons for deciding what point of view to use?

Do readers ever think a story would be improved if the author made different decisions as to whose mind they entered?


Now, for the CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY! To celebrate our new Christmas short stories, we’re giving away two kindle copies of each:

  1. Two kindle copies of Epiphany with Tea
  2. Two kindle copies of Miss Bingley’s Christmas

To enter, just comment below. The GIVEAWAY will end at midnight EST on Tuesday, December 27th, 2016. Giveaway winners will be announced on Thursday, December 29th.

epiphany-with-tea-cover

55 Responses to Another View of Point of View and a Christmas Giveaway!

  1. The success of the muliti-pov story is determined entirely by the skill of the author – I know that statement was entirely redundant, the whole story rests on the skills of the author, but work with me here. So many stories are a litany of ‘Jane said..’, ‘Darcy thought…’, ‘Jane thought..’, ‘Elizabeth said…’, ‘..she said.’, ‘he said..’ and so on. A skillful author lets it known the point of view being presented without repetitive, and often, monotonous phrases. It is indeed a treat to read a story with complex point of view narratives written in engaging and captivating language. Keep up the good work ladies and thank you for your efforts

    • I’m a believer in keeping the reader from being confused. I’ll put in many Name-said’s. I believe readers gloss over those if they are keeping track, so they hardly notice them. I rarely put them at the beginning of a paragraph, unless the speaker is an unexpected third speaker. It gets dicey is when there are more than two people in a conversation. Then they are usually necessary. I agree too many of them can get annoying, but I prefer to err on the side of clarity for the readers who are skimming. (Yes, some of them skim. Some of my reviews prove the reviewer hasn’t read our books thoroughly, or in one case, at all.)

      Often the decision is based on context. If two people are in a long conversation, a casual reader can get confused, but often context gives away the speaker, so attribution isn’t needed. In the famous proposal at Hunsford, there are many direct statements as to who is speaking, but I suspect the scene could be understood without “…and thus began,” “she said,” “he said,” “replied she,” “she continued,” etc. When it is clear as to who is speaking, telling the reader is redundant…

      …except for those who don’t read carefully. I teach. On a recent test I gave, I wrote in five-inch high letters on the white board, “Read directions!” Several students gave wrong answers because they didn’t. I tend to be cynical about how carefully people read things. Occupational hazard.

      • Yes, one college professor in an education course had “Read ALL the directions before answering any questions” as the first entry on his exam…when you read to the bottom of his test it said to put down your paper and go up to the teacher’s office for pizza and soda. Some poor souls were writing away when I left the room.

      • I remember tests like that! And yes, it is all in the context and as you rightly point out, in some cases, absolutely necessary. What I appreciate, and probably not when I should (after all, you often don’t appreciate something until it isn’t there), is a well written, structured narrative with all the hints and outright instructions that clearly direct the flow of the conversation.
        Thank you again for writing novels I love to read – and now I have some Amazon vouchers, I’m off to buy some books.

        Merry Christmas to you and yours, from sunny Australia.

        • Merry Christmas!

          When paperback books were considerably cheaper, I was given enough money to buy about a dozen of them to spend at a place that claimed to have the largest collection of paperbacks under one roof. It was a wonderful. Amazon, of course, has a much larger collection. Enjoy your vouchers.

    • You’re welcome.

      I believe that Jane Austen’s Mr. Collins was someone whose presence could be hard to bear, much less his mind. I understood Charlotte marrying him, but felt sorry for her.

  2. I’m okay with different POVs, as long as, like Anna says, it doesn’t go back and forth from paragraph to paragraph.
    Your two new books look pretty good! Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I love reading different POV as well. It gives the reader a insight on our characters by being able to read their thoughts. Thank you for the giveaway opportunities!

  4. I like different POVs as long as you can tell who it is without having to go back and re-read anything. Thanks for a chance to win. Happy Holidays!

  5. I enjoy reading the POV from many different characters. It gives me more insight into their personalities.
    Thanks for the giveaways! Merry Christmas!

  6. I love the different POV’s. Sometimes when a book is solely through one person’s eyes, you miss what’s going on and developing in the other person. There was a novel I read a couple years ago (not JAFF) that changed POV’s without giving indication and it was somewhat time consuming trying to figure out who you were reading there for a bit. After half the book or so I got where I could recognize the “tone” of the character and it made it less challenging. Thankfully that was one book out of the thousand upon thousands I’ve read LOL

    Merry Christmas!

    • Merry Christmas, Stephanie.

      Most often, authors make a pretty good effort to make it clear whose POV they are using. I once read about an author who wanted a different font for each character’s POV and wanted seven of them. The publisher refused.

  7. I feel the different POV provide some rational to the characters actions..I do admit I have never given much thought to what Collins was thinking because he grovels so there never seemed to be much depth in his actions.
    Thanks for the givaway!

    • I believe Jane Austen considered that Mr. Collins was a what-you-see-is-what-you-get character with no depth. Some of Jane Austen’s heroine’s learn that not all people are like that, such as Marianne Dashwood, Catherine Morland, Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse.

  8. I am thankful that I am not an author…so many things to consider in writing well! What you say makes sense. And you do a good job with it all in the books I have read which you wrote. I have read the “fire” one but not the “Mr. Collins” one.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

    • Thank you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Sheila

      I suspect that many endeavors have “so many things to consider.” Raising children is one of the activities where there are “so many things to consider” and yet many people do it well.

    • If you look at the sample of “Pride & Prejudice Villains Revisited – Redeemed – Reimagined: A Collection of Six Short Stories” you can read about half of “Mr. Collins’ Deception” for free.

  9. I enjoy different POVs being used in stories although in stories where it goes to another plot, it can be frustrating because I want to know what happens next with the plot we were on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the giveaway.

    • I agree. When I’m reading one story, I find it very frustrating if the author switches me to another one. I don’t switch from one story to another very well, even if I have faith that the author will bring them together eventually.

  10. I prefer first person POV, but am okay with 3rd person as long as it’s limited to just one person’s POV. Otherwise, I find it confusing who to follow, and whose opinions it is I’m reading about. And yes, I love other character’s POV in P&P because I love seeing Elizabeth and Darcy through other people’s eyes 🙂

    Congratulations on these two new releases!

  11. I like different viewpoints in the same story, so long as they don’t repeat the same events. But really I’m open to anything as long as the POV doesn’t shift back and forth from paragraph to paragraph. Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. The two covers are lovely! Now, being in the head of Mr. Collins is something that would not be my favorite point of view; however, I had never considered that he would plan how he would flatter Lady Catherine. Yes, there is deception in Mr. Collins. Thank you for the giveaway.

    • Credit goes to Summer for the covers.

      What made “Mr. Collins’ Deception” so much fun to write was that we made him so different from what he appeared to be. We made his planning inconsistent with the perception others would have of him. In “Pride and Prejudice” his planning was consistent with the character shown.

      Mr. Bennet said:

      “…May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?”

      Mr. Collins responded:

      “They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such little elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible.”

      Mr. Collins is one of many Jane Austen characters who make fools of themselves simply by talking.

    • Happy Holidays, AnitaP.

      I think I have a narrow, one-track mind and have trouble shifting points of view when I am reading. Different points of view work less well for me than for other people. I came to that conclusion when I realized how many popular books are told from multiple viewpoints. Giving a reference to a different genre, I will never read “Game of Thrones.”

  13. Different POVs within the same story don’t bother me at all. There are times when it can be most illuminating, not to say a lot of fun, to hear two sides to the same situation, especially if two characters are interpreting a situation comoletely differently but assume each other is thinking the same as themselves.

    Thanks for the giveaway Renata and Summer, and a Happy Christmas to you both.

    • I think the times that different POVs bother me is when it seems the characters are telling different stories. I’ve read books where two or more characters have chapters and they are about different things. Although the author usually brings them together nicely, whenever there is a switch my reaction is “No! I want to stay with THIS story.”

      Anji, you are welcome. And have a Happy Christmas.

  14. Well from the versions of P&P I have seen I would have thought Mr Collins would have no trouble in grovelling fir 12 months but this appears to cast doubt on that idea? As for the fire – well I would expect no less from Darcy than a desire to keep everyone safe. 2 more books to add to my list. Have a lovely Christmas.

    • In “Mr. Collins’ Deception” Mr. Collins was not a natural groveler, which is why it was difficult for him.

      As to your comment, “I would expect no less from Darcy than a desire to keep everyone safe,” you have hit upon my point exactly. We don’t need to be in his mind, because we can guess what he’s thinking.

    • Yes, it is. I’ve only won a giveaway once, many years ago, put on by a local newspaper. It was lots of fairly small prizes, such as a dinner for two in a Chinese restaurant and a free deli tray. It was fun collecting them.

  15. I have enjoyed your varied portrayals of Mr Collins – I enjoy the idea that there could be more to him than we have previously seen! Thanks for writing in such an entertaining manner. Your work is much appreciated!

    • Being appreciated encourages me to write more.

      Not in our next book, but the following one, which doesn’t have a title, Summer and I have a scene where Mr. Collins kills himself trying to obey Lady Catherine’s mistaken instructions.

      We usually have two stories in the works at once, one Summer is working on and one I’m working on.

  16. I love different POV. In ‘ The Fire at Netherfield Park ‘ it worked perfectly for me. And I enjoyed Mr Collins’s internal monologue It was a refreshing take on his character.
    Thanks for the giveaway. Congratulations on the release of two stories.

Your thoughts are precious!