Friday, December 2

What the Hell is "pov"?

Trust and Betrayal. That was the first novel I ever finished. It took me ten years to write. That's ten years I'll never get back. The heroine was perfect, had two perfect children and was dull as dishwater. When she wasn't being a bitch to her ex-husband. The hero was perfect to the point of being bizarre. He owned a restaurant, could cook, was artistic, gorgeous without being conceited and never lost patience with the heroine, even when she was being a bitch to him.

I thought I had written a masterpiece. I even entered it in the Golden Heart. (I'm hanging my head in shame now.)

I figured while I waited for my perfect scores, I'd submit it to a critique loop I'd discovered. Imagine my surprise to find my masterpiece was mastercrap. One critiquer said there was so many problems, she wasn't going to crit it, just comment. She said all I did was "tell." I was all about the telling. I had no idea what she was talking about. Several others made the same comment. One person said my pov was all over the place. "Pov?" I couldn't figure out what the hell "pov" was. I thought it was a word. I had several comments on my story and still didn't know what was wrong with it. I was ready to throw in the towel.

Then, here comes Sharon Cullen. She started off with, "Everyone 'told' you what was wrong with your chapter, now I'm going to 'show' you. She went through the chapter and pointed out my mistakes and explained why they were mistakes. Going to always be grateful to her for that.

I realized the story was beyond repair, so I started on something totally different. With the help of my cp's, several workshops, and interactions on-line with other writers, I was able to write a good story. It comes out in January. Now I'm on my third novel with three more waiting to be finished. I still sometimes fall into bad habits. Word repetition, passive writing, pov slips. But at least now I know it when I see it.

BTW. My Golden Heart scores were 3, 3, and 6. Couldn't believe I got a six. Maybe someone took pity on me. So there it is folks. The hell of my first finished novel.


  1. Ha! I think you just described my first book too. (sigh)...if only we could get back those years and know what we do now, huh? Congrats on your January release.

  2. My past critique groups have been invaluable to me. They taught me EVERYTHING I know. Unfortunately my schedule was just too full to continue writing. Maybe one day things will slow down enough to rejoin *wink wink*. Lord KNOWS I have so much left to learn... and relearn!

  3. Thanks Em. If I knew then what I know now! Gipsi, I undersand about full schedules. It's why the story took ten years to finish. I had three young children, a husband and a career. I had to steal time to write.

  4. I think we all recognize a bit of our first book in this post. Well, at least I do! lol

    My current problem is at the other end of the spectrum. As a magazine staff writer I had to compact everything into as few words as possible. So when I had the unrestricted opportunity to use as many as I wanted . . . Let's just say I wrote, then went in with a machete and hacked out all the underbrush to find the intended story! My critique groups keep me more on track now, and are invaluable! (I just provide the Excedrin! lol)

    Continued success,Shawn!

  5. Runere, a lot of authors have the "writing to long" problem. I usually write short and have to find places to expand. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. This is funny, Shawn. I can't imagine you writing like that, though we all did. You've sure come a long way, but thanks for sharing the journey.

  7. Thanks, Liz! I still giggle when I think about how I looked trying to figure out pov.

  8. Awww, Shawn. I'm glad I could help. I actually remember that chapter a little. What I remember was that no one was trying to HELP you become a better writer and it made me mad. LOL. Critique groups are meant to help. Someone took the time to teach me about POV and showing vs telling so it was my turn to do the same.

    But remember, those weren't wasted 10 years. Writing that story made you happy and that's what counts. That and you DID learn a lot from that manuscript. Enough to get published!

    Congrats and great post!!!!

  9. LOL, Shawn.

    Isn't it funny when we're a beginner how much we think we know?

    You're a super writer, and I'm so happy we're Ceeps!

  10. Thanks, Sharon. Hopefully, I'll be able to do the same for someone else.

    D'Ann, I can laugh about it now, but back then, I did think I knew what I was doing. I'm glad to have you as a ceep too!

  11. I wouldn't be where I am without the help of ceeps through the years and my earliest learning came from mystery/gothic author Sheila Simonson who taught at our local community college. I was so fortunate to be able to take her classes--over and over again--during the early stages of my writing ambitions. She was a POV master nit-picker.

    Loved your post :)

  12. Critique partners/groups are worth their weight in gold - the good ones, when you get comments/examples like Sharon gave you.

    Great post, Shawn - and I'm glad you didn't let that first 'oops' stop you!!

  13. Thanks, Kristi. I'm glad I didn't let it stop me either.