On Sunday I read THE PEACH KEEPER by Sarah Addison Allen.
Ok, I lied. I read thirteen pages Saturday night. On Sunday by noon I’d read the remaining 261 pages.
And do you know what I decided when I’d finished the book?
First, I’m going to read all Sarah Addison Allen’s books. Second, I’m going to write a novel with more than one POV. (Sorry, Izzy, you’re toast. This another book and the main character’s name is Di. As in Diamond.)
In addition to enjoying (understatement) the story and the writing in TPK, I was fascinated by the structure. It’s not 100% linear. It’s not every-other-chapter from a different POV. It flows seamlessly and nothing is left out but it’s not necessarily put together in the way you’d expect.
Now, this author has a lot of experience and I wouldn’t compare my abilities to someone who has multiple published books notched into her computer, but — what’s better than an author who can inspire me to do something better with my own writing? Not to write like another author – but to push me to write better as myself? I think it would be fascinating to write the same story from multiple points of view. I’ve only ever written one short story that way — one that’s currently out on the submission road after getting awesome feedback in a Backspace Short Story Contest.
I don’t think it’s necessary to have mulitple points of view in women’s fiction (or any fiction). I remember reading HENRY’S SISTERS by Cathy Lamb and being astounded at the depth of all the characters in a book written in one first person point of view. It’s not the number of points of view. You can have twenty points of view and no depth, no coherent story telling. You can have one point of view and everything you need.
For me, this is about changing it up and pushing myself to do something different within my chosen genre — and to challenge myself. Sort of — to give myself a promotion and see if I make the cut. I don’t want to write something different, I want to write differently. Up the ante. Writing something new is always a challenge. The Izzy book I mentioned a few posts back is written in first person. My novel that’s finally – once again – in the capable hands of my agent, is written in close third person. Jumping into this shiny new idea of writing with multiple voices led me to pick up a pen (GASP) and a notebook (GULP) and jot down some ideas (I totally got writer’s cramp). I’m not sure how many points of view there will be — two or three — and the story is about three sisters (way cool for me, as I have no sisters – none by blood anyway) and intuition (I do have that) and premonitions (I’ve had those too) and what happens when we pay attention to them — and what happens when we don’t. Can’t really say more because I really don’t know more. Yet.
I have no preference when reading women’s fiction — it can be first person or third, one POV or many. It’s the skill with which the author relays the story that is important. If the voice or voices work — it works for me.
What POV works for you when reading and writing women’s fiction?
(What also works for me is now having Sarah Addison Allen on Women’s Fiction Writers. I’m going to get right on that!!* Oh, and full disclosure here, I received an Advance Reader Edition of THE PEACH KEEPER. I never ask for books but do accept AREs and ARCs when they are offered or land in my mailbox. I never promise to read or review the book or have the author on WFW – but if it happens, we all win! )
*Edited to add: At Sarah Addison Allen’s request, she’ll be featured on WFW in early 2012, which will correspond with the trade paperback release of THE PEACH KEEPER.