Saturday, January 14

Always Learning

A few weeks ago, one of my publishers, The Wild Rose Press, gave a little primer on comma use during one our regularly scheduled chats. Very informative and helpful, since I often struggle with where to put commas. (Note to self: refer to notes to make sure I’ve got them right in this post.)

This past fall I took Angela James’ self-editing course called “Before you Hit Send”. Unfortunately, I was really busy during this time and I didn’t get to participate as much as I would have liked. But I read and reread all the posts, soaking up all I could. There was a ton of information, from the proper use of colons and semi-colons, to the best ways to format dialogue that happens in text messages or even telepathically. All kinds of minutia that writers need to know. 

One of the things that surprised me most was learning that Angela James, who is executive editor at Carina Press, is okay with multiple (or at least two) points of view in the same scene, or even the same paragraph, as long it’s clear who’s head we’re in. This blew me away because ever since I started writing, the one-point-of-view-per-scene rule was drilled into my head. I’m pretty entrenched in writing that way now, but the idea of trying something new, taking a bit of a risk, is exciting. According to Angela, there are no rules in writing, other than whatever you do has to work.

Of course, not everyone likes multiple points of view in a scene. When I took in a workshop from mystery writer Halle Ephron at the Surrey International Writers Conference in October, she mentioned that even though multiple or double POV per scene has become popular, she doesn’t care for it. Attending SIWC was a huge inspiration boost. It also gave me an opportunity to learn from interesting and knowledgeable presenters, not to mention practicing my pitching skills. 

Writing is an occupation where you learn new things all the time. Every time I research a location, an occupation, or a time period, I learn something new. The learning also extends to craft of writing. I just bought a new book on plotting and outlining called “The Story Toolkit” by Susan Bischoff. I can’t wait to plot a new story using the information from this book. 

My day job is in the veterinary industry. As part of their licensing requirements, veterinarians and veterinary technicians are required to participate in continuing education workshops each year to keep up with the newest developments in their profession. Writers need to keep up with changes, too. There’s always something new to learn about writing and marketing.

What have you learned this year? 

P.S. If you’re interested in taking Angela James’ workshop on self-editing called “Before You Hit Send”, she is currently offering a new session in February 2017 (next one Fall 2017). For more information follow Angela on twitter at @angelajames or go to 


  1. A great post, and I think Angela James is a genius. Like you, I'm pretty entrenched in the single POV thing, but I wish I wasn't because sometimes multiple POV makes a scene not only fuller but richer. I'm not confident I can pull it off, though.

  2. Angela is definitely a genius editor. She knows so much it's scary. I'm not sure I can pull off the multiple points of view either, but just knowing that if I need to I can use that device, is very freeing somehow.

  3. As a writer, sometimes I'd rather do multiple POVs, but the editor in me mostly won't let me (or anyone I edit) do it. The writing rules are important, not always live-or-die crucial, but important nonetheless. That said, I've been known to leave a questionable POV scene in the book of authors who just seem to make it work... ;-)

    1. I'm not an editor, but as a reader, I sometimes really enjoy multiple or back and forth POV. And at other times I want to hurl a book (or my ereader) across the room. It really all depends on the execution, doesn't it?

  4. Great post, Jana! Learning new things -- about your subject, about your craft, about yourself -- is one of the rewards of being a writer!