Telling the Story

Well, I said that I would keep you all up to date with my writings and story sales.

Wouldn’t it be nice?!

This morning, my email contained a letter from the editor of the new magazine who has chosen to publish one of my stories. It was a very nice letter talking about the changes that need to be made to the story before it is published. A copy of the story with suggested corrections was attached.

I opened the attachment and read through it all. There were a lot of changes asked for on a short 5-6 page story. Now, please don’t misunderstand. I don’t mind doing this at all. I want the story to be published and here I am handed the means to do that.

The changes are not, particularly, difficult; they are just numerous. I will make them and be very happy to send them in. The editor even made a point to ask me to not be offended by the requested changes. I assured him, quickly, that I am not offended and will be glad to make the changes and return the manuscript to him.

My father has great faith in me. He even told me that, perhaps, I write better than this person and that my story is fine as it is. I appreciate that and I am happy that my Dad feels this way about me. However, I do know that I have never published before and for me to assume that I should not have to make corrections is not a very wise direction to head for.

I was told that the premise is a good one and that the ending is fine (with a few minor things that should be corrected).

I did make 2-3 of the dreaded POV (read that point of view) mistakes that I, really, knew very little about until recently. I have a friend who is an author(ess?). She kind of introduced POV to me when she talked about the needed changes to her book. I read what was stated to be the errors in my story, and, once I stepped back from being the author, I saw them for what they were: errors!

For those of you not familiar with POV errors, let me go into a bit more detail. Point of view is the place from which a section (usually, a chapter) of a story of book is spoken from.

If Charlie is talking and if we know what Charlie is thinking, then it is Charlie’s POV in this instance. So, if I say

“He remembered the time when he and his wife went to the islands.”

We all know and understand that it is Charlie and his wife who went and Charlie who is doing the remembering.

However, if I write,

“Charlie and George looked at each other. He remembered the time when he and his wife went to the islands.”

Excuse Me! Who was it who remembered?

Here, it is no longer clear who is doing the thinking. It is a POV mistake. In fact, it is an elemental POV mistake that really shouldn’t be made.

It is difficult to talk about two guys and say, “he” and still know who you are talking about. My mistake is more of a “I know who is thinking because I am writing the story.” That’s wonderful that I can see the story so well in my head, but it’s not so wonderful for the reader.

My thing was that, until now, I never realized how hard it was to make sure you always stayed in the correct POV for the chapters of a story. My basic understanding is that it is okay to switch POV from chapter to chapter as long as you make it clear from the beginning of each chapter whose head we are in.

Who is doing the talking? Who is doing the thinking? And, above all, whose eyes and ears are we using here to see and hear what is going on?

I really didn’t mean to get going so much on POV, but it is hitting me solid what an important part of the story or book this truly is. I can now see how, once you get it mixed up, the reader can get truly lost. When that happens, the story or book no longer is very important, and it will be put down and, most likely, forgotten about.

Yes, I will make all the changes asked of me and do it gladly. Then I will know that when others read my story they should see and hear it as I pictured it in my head.

Yes’m. I learnt.

A lesson for me that I will pass down to those of you who are writing also.

_
Namaste,
Scott

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