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Friday, November 25, 2005

Internet marketing - blog tours

This article originally appeared as a series of blog posts.

Because of the nature of the web, blog tours have become an effective marketing tool. However, like most marketing strategies, it’s hard to quantify how effective it is in terms of sales.

Regardless, blog tours are low cost and get the word out (buzz) about you and your book, and that’s never a bad thing.

Also, if you’ve got a website contest going on, a blog tour is a great way to get the word out about it, because you can mention the contest at each blog on the tour.

Please use the following guidelines to help you schedule the time you’ll need for the blog tour. You’ll need time the month before the tour in setting it up (contacting people, writing guest blog posts or answering interview questions), and you’ll also need time during the tour to email reminders, to post the daily stops on the tour, to comment on each blog on the tour, and to correct any mis-posts.

Setting up a blog tour:

You can hire a publicity company to do this for you, or you can hire a virtual assistant privately to set it up for you. Most of the time, with these two options, they will send out an e-blast to a bunch of bloggers, and some will agree to host your blog tour on their blog. They usually post the book blurb and your bio, but not much else.

You can also go the cheap route and set it up yourself, especially if you know a lot of people who have blogs. This also gives you more control over the content in the blog tour.

In setting it up yourself, you simply email your friends who have blogs and ask them if they’d be willing to be part of your blog tour. Give dates—typically a good blog tour lasts anywhere from 2 weeks to a month, sometimes longer. Some blog tours are shorter—3 days—so it’s up to you how long you want your tour. A longer tour typically means softer internet buzz about you over a longer period of time, while a shorter tour means a strong internet buzz about you over those few days.

I will usually email friends at least a month before the tour starts, ideally 6 weeks so that I can send books to each blogger in plenty of time (see the next post about sending books) and have lots of time to answer interview questions and write up guest blog posts.

Each person who agrees to be part of your blog tour then picks a date that they will post about your book. An alternative is to ask each person to commit to posting during a certain week of the tour, and then in your Blog Tour Schedule, list the bloggers by week.

Important etiquette: Generally, if someone agrees to be part of your blog tour, you are required to send them a free copy of your book to read.

If they want to give a copy away on their blog, then you provide another copy for them to give away. Another method is to have them email you the mailing address of the winner, and you can send the winner their copy directly.

Pictures: Make sure you send everyone .jpg files of your book cover and you so they can post it on their blog.

Central website: Mary DeMuth recently had a blog tour where she had a central website page that included everything for the tour. This is an excellent tool and I intend to use this next time. Her centralized website included:

--links to pictures that people could use
--book blurb and links to buy her book
--link to excerpt
--the Blog Tour Schedule
--canned interviews people could use
--links to examples of reviews and interviews
--detailed instructions and HTML code for those so inclined

I probably wouldn’t include canned interviews because then people all post the same content (I’ll be talking more about content in the next post).

I also would link to my centralized website from my blog and/or website so it’s easy to find—I lost the email with the address and had to search for it to get the information on Mary’s tour. I might even make it a post on my blog so that it’s easier to find.

However, this idea of a centralized website was fabulous and I intend to cannibalize it in future blog tours.

Content:

The best blog tours have completely original content on each and every blog.

You can have a blog tour where each person posts the same pre-written interview or just the blurb of the book and your bio, and those are still good blog tours because the large number of blogs that post about you and your book is still generating some internet buzz.

However, you ideally want an interesting, interactive blog tour, one where people will visit every single blog on the tour. For that to happen, you must have original content at each “stop.”

This requires pre-planning on your part. When you email your friends to ask them to be part of your blog tour, give them three options: to post a review, to post an interview with you (where they email you about 5 questions to answer), or to post a guest blog post written by you about whatever topic they prefer.

If you do your blog tour in conjunction with another group like the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, try to encourage people to email you to get original content for their stops on the blog tour. I had several people in the CFBA who were stops on my blog tour (and got a link on my Blog Tour Schedule) because they posted original content.

Try to return your interview answers or the guest blog post in good time. I try to request the questions and return them before the blog tour even starts. You must make sure you give the blogger enough time to format the post before posting it. Some bloggers will post at midnight the day they’re supposed to post, so you must get them the content at least two days before, but that’s pushing it, in my opinion.

Reviews: This means the blogger commits to reading your book and writing the review before it’s their date to post.

Now, you also have to realize that your blogger friend has the right to give you only a so-so review, because it’s their blog and their review. You still have to link to them because they’re part of your blog tour.

However, most of the time, your friend will give you a pretty good review. Just be prepared in case you don’t get lots of gushing.

Interviews: The blogger emails you about 5 questions to answer. This enables the blogger to ask questions that tie in to their blog’s theme if they choose. For example, my blog is light, funny, and quirky, so I’ll ask quirky questions when I send interview questions.

Make sure that even if people ask the same questions, that you don’t just copy and paste answers. Make each answer original writing. If you can, give a different spin on the answers for each blog.

For example, I was often asked how I came up with the idea for the Sushi series. My answers from three different blogs is below:

From Robin Caroll's blog: What was your inspiration for Sushi for One?

I promise it wasn't my family! My grandma (and my parents, and my other relatives) are nothing like Grandma Sakai. GS was a conglomeration of stories I heard from friends about their parents/aunties/siblings/grandparents. Of course, once I had Grandma Sakai, what better than to pit her against Christian single women in her family with as much backbone as she has?

From Amber Miller's blog: What gave you the inspiration for this book?

I actually thought up all the cousins' personalities at the same time, so I "knew" all of them before I even wrote Sushi for One. I made Lex as good at volleyball as I wished I was. :) Then I went into her family situation and her personality and thought, "What would be the best and worst things that could happen to her?"

Then I applied Donald Maass' WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK and asked, "How can I make things worse?" I'm so evil. :)

From Erica Vetsch's blog: Can you tell us a little about how the story went from idea to published novel?

People have asked me if Grandma Sakai is based on my own grandma. No, she’s not. However—unfortunately—she’s a conglomeration of my friends’ aunties, mothers, and grandmothers.

I think lots of people can relate to at least one relative who’s always pestering the single people in their family about getting married and having kids. Sometimes it’s amusing, sometimes it’s downright annoying.

I wondered what would happen if the Buddhist matriarch of a family fell down hard and heavy on a close-knit group of cousins who all happened to be Christian.

I also wanted the cousins to be not-your-average chick lit heroines—I wanted them to be characters that readers would relate to and yet find intriguing. So I made one a jock, one a flirt, one a cactus, and one a doormat. The Sushi Series was born.

Camy here: You can see how I had a slightly different spin on each question, to make each blog on the tour unique despite the fact they asked similar questions.

I also tailored my answers to the particular blog: Robin is a strong personality who writes strong heroines, so I brought out Grandma Sakai’s strong personality in my answer. Amber’s interview was geared toward writers, so my answer was focused more toward writers. And I tailored Erica’s answer more toward the entire series rather than just book one.

Guest blog posts: The blogger will ask you to write a short blog post, often on a topic of their choosing. Usually the topic is in line with the blog’s theme or the blogger’s interests.

Sometimes they’ll say to just blog about whatever you feel like. Even when given carte blanche like this, try to aim the blog post toward the blogger’s theme.

For example, when blogging for Sharon Hinck, I wrote about superheroes in my life since her theme is “The Superhero in all of us.” When blogging for Mary DeMuth, I wrote about authenticity since Mary’s blog is very authentic. I also managed to sneak in info on my writing and my books, since the blog tour is essentially to get the word out about you.

Try to keep your guest blog posts SHORT. I try to aim for 250 – 500 words. Do NOT run on for more than 750 words maximum, and only do that if the blogger has asked you to address several things in your blog post.

Scheduling:

Some blog tours schedule one person per day. Others let the bloggers choose whichever day they like, and there will be a few gaps.

Still others do a combination of both—bloggers can choose dates, but if someone asks you for a date, you try to schedule at least one person for each day on the tour. For my blog tour, I ended up with at least one person for each day, and some days had several people because they chose that particular date.

Some people will ask for several dates—that’s fine! Sometimes they will send lots of interview questions and break the interview up over two days. Sometimes they will post both a review and an interview, or a guest blog post and an interview, or a combination of the three options you’ve given them.

In general, Monday through Friday are the best days to post, with lower traffic over the weekends. If someone chooses to post over the weekend, you can request that they keep the post up over Monday so that you get maximum exposure. However, if they choose not to, don’t get upset. Remember, it’s their blog and they’re doing you a favor.

Logistics:

Make sure you’ve scheduled everything on either a spreadsheet or a calender.

For each day of the tour, make sure you have written down which blogger, their blog address, and whether they’re doing a review, interview, or guest blog post, or a combination of all three.

Also write down if you’ve received the interview questions yet. If you haven’t, email them to remind them to send them to you so you have time to get the answers back to them in good time.

Also write down if you’ve written their guest blog post yet. Try to get that done before the blog tour even starts.

Pictures: Make sure you’ve emailed everyone .jpg files of yourself and your book cover so they can post them with the review, interview, or guest blog post.

The Blog Tour Schedule: If you have a blog, prepare a draft of a post that will include all the stops on your blog tour. Link each stop to the blogger’s blog address so your blog readers can click on it to get to the blog.

If you don’t have a blog, you can also email your Blog Tour Schedule to any email loops you belong to which allow you to post about those sorts of things. Be sure to adhere to the guidelines for each of your email loops. In your email, do the same thing as above and link to each blog address on the tour.

In addition to listing the dates and the blogs, I also try to write a short sentence to entice the reader to come to that particular blog. Since I have original content on each blog, I can say something different for each stop on the tour.

Here’s my blog tour post as an example (you have to scroll down to the end because I added the interview excerpts after the tour was over). To a few email loops I belong to, I sent both the schedule list AND the link to the updated schedule on my blog.

If you have a blog, prepare a post for each day that will highlight that day’s blog stops. You can pre-date the posts so that they’re ready to just post when the day arrives.

Here’s an example of day thirteen on my blog tour. I pre-wrote each day’s post (day thirteen, day fourteen, etc.) so that as each day came, I just posted and didn’t have to worry about writing anything. Essentially, I just copied the short sentence from my blog tour schedule.

Email reminders: Ahead of time, write an email for each person on the blog tour to remind them that they’re posting “tomorrow, [Month, date].” Save these emails as drafts so that you can just click and send the day before the blogger is scheduled to post for your tour.

In these emails, resend your Interview questions or Guest Blog post, and also resend .jpgs of you and your book cover.

Giving away books: This is an option you can offer to your bloggers. They can give away books however they like—most will say to post a comment on the post about you and they’ll draw a name out of a hat on a certain date.

If you give your bloggers this option, be prepared to either mail them an extra copy of your book or have them email you the mailing address of the winner so you can mail the winner their copy directly.

During the blog tour:

Permalinks: During the blog tour, post on your blog each day and link to the blog hosting you for that day. When the blogger has put up your post, change the link on your daily blog post and your Blog Tour Schedule to the permalink for that particular post.

For example, before the tour started, I had:

Alison Strobel Morrow interviews my chick-litty self, and I give the original blurb for Sushi for One that I used for my proposal.

The link to Alison’s blog was just her main blog page, http://alisonstrobel.blogspot.com/.

However, after she posted the interview with me, I changed the link to http://alisonstrobel.blogspot.com/2007/09/sushi-for-one_14.html, which is the permalink on her blog for that particular post.

Alison Strobel Morrow interviews my chick-litty self, and I give the original blurb for Sushi for One that I used for my proposal.

That way, when people click on the link to Alison’s blog, it will take them directly to the post with the interview.

I changed the links on both my post for day fifteen of my blog tour, and also the main post of the full Blog Tour Schedule.

Visit your blogs: For each day, visit the blogs on your tour and leave a comment, thanking them for posting. You can also answer any questions commenters may have posed.

Correct for any mis-posts: Things will always crop up. Just keep your cool and remember that it’s not a big deal.

Sometimes someone will forget to post. Just email them and ask them if they’re going to post that day, or if they’d like to post a different day. Then change the dates on your Blog Tour Schedule, and your daily blog tour posts.

Sometimes a blogger will not be able to post on their scheduled day. Just ask them if they would post on a different day, and then change the dates on your Blog Tour Schedule, and your daily blog tour posts.

Sometimes people will post on the wrong date. Just change the dates on your Blog Tour Schedule and your daily blog tour posts.

Some people will drop out of the tour, never answer your emails, and never post when they’re supposed to. Just erase their link from the Blog Tour Schedule and your daily blog tour posts.

After the blog tour:

Take a breath and rejoice—it’s done!

Take time to thank everyone who participated. If anyone did a book giveaway, remind them to draw the name and give you the mailing address (if you’ll be mailing the books to the winners).

Now look at see what could have been done better.

Did it take way too much of your time? Consider hiring someone to do the emailing and blog posting for you next time. You’ll still need to do the interview questions and write guest blog posts, however, so schedule time in for that. Or maybe you don’t care about original content and would be happy with just the book blurb and your bio on a bunch of blogs during a few days. Decide what you want and how much time you’re willing to spend on it.

Did you get people their interview questions or guest blog posts in time? If not, then try to schedule more time for yourself next time before the blog tour starts. Also, what I do is do the interview the day I receive it (or the next day if it’s late in the evening when I get it) so that I can get it out of the way and sent off as soon as possible. If someone asks for a guest blog post, I also try to write it that day or the next so it’s done quickly. That way, I only had one or two things to write each day rather than 10 interviews to complete the night before the blog tour started.

Did you write your daily blog posts ahead of time? If you didn’t, consider doing that for next time.

Were you prompt on emailing people? Maybe you need a daily reminder on your computer.

Were there several people who mis-posted or didn’t post at all? Remember who they were so that you know who you can count on for your next blog tour.

Now gear up for your next tour!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Basic Point of View

This article originally appeared as a 12-part blog post series.

Many beginning writers are confused about the concept of point of view. I’m hoping this series of blog posts will help you out. After I finish the series, I’ll condense it into one blog post article.

What is point of view?

It’s the type of narration of a story. For the purposes of a writer, it’s easiest to think of it as the eyes through which your reader sees the scene.

There is third person, second person, and first person point of view.

First person is told from the character as the narrator. I’ll be covering that later.

Second person is not used often. It’s the type of narration where the character is referred to using personal pronouns, which serves to make the reader into the character. I remember this type of narration in the Choose Your Own Adventure books.

Third person is most often used. In third person, the characters are distinct from the storyteller, who is essentially the author. Most readers are familiar with third person, since most fiction is written in third person past tense.

Third person often works because while it’s told by a narrator, the reader is sucked into the story and usually doesn’t notice the narrator—they are engrossed by the characters and the plot.

For example:

Any man going on this mission wasn’t coming back.

Cluttered kitchen, cluttered head. Kent Wicksell could hardly think straight. It wasn’t supposed to start like this.

----From Amber Morn by Brandilyn Collins

The reader doesn’t even notice the third person narrator. Instead, the reader is caught up in Kent’s dilemma.



Within third person point of view, there are three types:

Omniscient third person point of view was used widely several years ago and is still used sometimes in more literary fiction. It’s what it sounds like—an omniscient writer telling the reader what’s going on from their expanded, omniscient viewpoint. The omniscient writer knows what every person is thinking, what every person is doing.

For example, in omniscient point of view, the reader would find out Karen is being bored to death at the bar by a computer software engineer while Cissy is near the water fountain, fluttering her eyes at Hanson, who hasn’t told her he’s getting married next week to the party’s hostess.

Omniscient point of view has several problems. One, it’s not used these days in commercial fiction, so using it will often mark you as an amateur. Two, it distances the reader from the characters and dampens the emotional impact of the story.

You want to show an editor that you’re up to speed on current publishing trends, and emotion is what spurs the reader to engage in your story. So my advice is to not use omniscient unless you have a darn good reason for using it.

Limited third person point of view means the reader sees the entire scene through only one person’s eyes.

For example, Karen walks into a party. If we’re in Karen’s point of view, we’ll see how she views the party—the people she meets, the things she thinks about them, the terrible time she’s having. Karen doesn’t know that Cissy is on the other side of the room having a blast flirting with a hot blond model, so you wouldn’t write about Cissy—you’re in Karen’s point of view.

Deep third person takes limited third person a step further and draws the reader right into the character’s skin. It’s as immediate as first person point of view and is most commonly used in the publishing industry today. I wrote an entire series on deep point of view that I encourage you to check out.




To help the reader understand multiple characters, you can switch the point of view character throughout the book, using one for each scene.

For example, chapter one is in Karen’s point of view at the party. In the next chapter or scene, we switch to Cissy, the day after the party, hoping Hanson will call her. In the third chapter or scene, we move to Elena, picking up her phone and finding her fiancé Hanson on the line, flirting with some other woman. In the fourth chapter or scene, Karen is woken up with a pounding headache by her cell phone—it is her best friend Elena, who is crying that she thinks her fiancé Hanson is having an affair.

Be judicious in how many point of view characters you use. Too many point of view characters is often confusing for a reader.

For example, in Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street series, her novels always only have four point of view characters. This helps the reader keep track of who is who, because the reader is dropped into the heads of only four characters out of the larger cast of minor characters.

Typically, a romance will only show two points of view—the hero and heroine. If you choose to use a third point of view character, make sure you have scenes from that character’s point of view throughout the novel, not just a scene or two. It disrupts the flow of the story to make the reader switch to a new point of view character for only a few scenes. Be creative and write the scene from the hero or heroine’s point of view instead.




First person point of view is from only one person’s point of view, and it’s as if the reader is really inside the person’s head. You can use past tense or present tense.

Past tense:
Eat and leave. That’s all I had to do. If Grandma didn’t kill me first for being late. I raced through the open doorway to the Chinese restaurant and was immediately immersed in conversation, babies’ wails, clashing perfumes, and stale sesame oil. I tripped over the threshold and almost turned my ankle. Stupid pumps. Man, I hated wearing heels.

Present tense:
Eat and leave. That’s all I have to do. If Grandma doesn’t kill me first for being late. I race through the open doorway to the Chinese restaurant and am immediately immersed in conversation, babies’ wails, clashing perfumes, and stale sesame oil. I trip over the threshold and almost turn my ankle. Stupid pumps. Man, I hate wearing heels.

Many writers like using first person point of view because it feels more immediate, but it’s actually more difficult than it seems.

Writers need to master deep point of view when they use first person. Often, I see first person manuscripts that seem very distant from the reader, when it should be very intimate because the point of view is first person.

The manuscript also can’t simply be a long monologue of what the character is thinking—that’s boring. Too often, writers fall into the habit of too much narrative when they write first person and not enough dialogue and action.

Sometimes first person is also a bit limiting because the reader is never privy to any other character’s thoughts or feelings. A manuscript in first person has to be really well done to make the reader feel the other characters’ emotions without ever being in their points of view.




The most important thing to remember about point of view is:

You are the character.

This involves several things. First:

Your character would only see what you would see.

You don’t see your face unless you’re looking in a mirror. You don’t see the color of your eyes. You don’t see when a flush creeps up your cheeks (although you might feel the heat). You don’t see how charming you look when you’re angry. You don’t see the flash or glitter or tears in your eyes.

Your character wouldn’t see any of that, either. So when you’re writing a scene from a certain character’s point of view, only write what the character herself would see.

Susie wouldn’t see the dimples in her cheeks, so don’t write about how Susie’s dimples peeked out at Jim.

Frank wouldn’t see his hair, so don’t write about how his ebony hair shone in the sunlight.

Audrey wouldn’t see her own eyes, so don’t write about how the candlelight made her eyes turn golden.



So if your viewpoint character can’t see herself, how do you describe your character to the reader?

Through other character’s eyes in other sections of the story.

You really don’t need to give a full description of every character, all in the first chapter. I’m totally serious, here.

If you start out chapter one in Amelia’s point of view, you don’t need to make sure the reader knows Amelia is petite, dark-haired, and sexy.

You can save that for chapter two when Gaston finds himself attracted to his new neighbor, who is petite, dark-haired and sexy.

Also, remember that your character won’t notice things that are commonplace, so she won’t toss back her long, ebony tresses as she walks to her car. She probably wouldn’t even notice what she’s doing.

Instead, have the next scene start from Gaston’s point of view as his attention is initially caught by the sunlight glinting off of hair so glossy, it’s as if it’s made of strands of onyx.

Using a mirror to describe your character is extremely cliché. It’s also sometimes seen as lazy writing because the writer can’t come up with a more creative, unique way to let the reader know what the character looks like.

Some writers use a mirror to show how the character views herself, but there are other, more creative ways to do that—with dialogue, action, or snippets of thought in response to specific things that happen to her. Be original!



Your character would only think what you would think.

You don’t hear anyone else’s thoughts when you’re talking to someone, right? (Most people don’t anyway.) You can guess what someone else is thinking from their expression, body language, words or tone. Many times, you can guess pretty accurately just from these visual and audible cues.

But you can’t really hear your friend thinking his thoughts. Neither should your character.

Judy thinks Alvin is pompous and full of himself. She can’t hear his thoughts, so she wouldn’t know Alvin thinks Judy is irresponsible and flighty.

Mary thinks, Charles just doesn’t understand me. She wouldn’t know Charles is thinking, I think I’m finally starting to understand her. So your reader shouldn’t be told this, either.

However, your character can speculate on what the other character is thinking.

Judy can tell by Alvin’s expression that he thinks she’s a dumb blonde.

Mary can tell Charles thinks he’s starting to make headway, but he doesn’t know he’s completely missing the point.

When you’re writing the scene from your character’s point of view, stay in that character’s head—don’t go wandering into someone else’s thoughts!




Your character would only notice what you would notice.

Do you notice the color of your hair on an average day? Do you tell yourself in your head that Lisa is your sister? Is it possible to consciously notice when you’re unconsciously looking at a cloud? Would you know at one moment that the next five minutes will bring you a promotion?

Your character, going about his average day, wouldn’t notice certain things that are commonplace or actions that are unconsciously done. Don’t write what your character wouldn’t consciously notice to himself.

Jennifer wouldn’t notice her own hair because she sees it everyday, so don’t write how Jennifer tossed her long, silky blonde tresses out of her face. (She probably wouldn’t even consciously realize she was doing it—do you consciously note every time you brush the hair out of your eyes? Do you consciously note the color of your hair every time you brush it out of your eyes?)

Dave wouldn’t tell himself, “That’s my sister Milly crossing the street toward me.” He’d think, “That’s Milly crossing the street. I wonder what’s up?”

Amy wouldn’t even be aware what she was staring at if her mind is wandering, focused on something else, so don’t write about her gazing unseeing at a shop window.

Sara would only think she was on a nice early morning run, she wouldn’t see anything unusual, so don’t write that she didn’t see the glowing eyes watching her from the darkness under a bush. Of course she didn’t see it—so don’t write what she doesn’t see.

Be careful about narrative and description—remember that you’re in the character’s head.




Decide whose point of view the scene needs to be in.

Try to chose the character with the most to lose. This will ensure the scene is at its maximum emotional potential.

For example:

Sally is going to tell Billy that her four year old son is his, a secret she’s kept since he walked out on her five years ago. Whose point of view do you write the scene in?

Sally has known this information for years, so her anguish is in finally revealing it to Billy and feeling his shock and anger.

Billy, however, is about to be laid a bombshell. The emotional strain will be higher from his point of view, so write the scene from Billy’s viewpoint.

Sometimes people will write a scene from a third party’s point of view for literary reasons. It has a tendency to mute the emotional reactions of the primary characters involved, and sometimes a writer will deliberately want to distance the reader from the emotional scene. This choice of literary device is up to you.

However, for most popular fiction, stronger emotion is usually a better force to drive a scene. This is why it’s best to get into the head of the person who will have the most emotional upheaval in their lives.




Let the reader know whose point of view they’re in.

You should clue the reader in about which character’s point of view the scene will be in as soon as you can. Preferably within the first three sentences.

For example:

“Move and you’re dead.” Maggie Somers lifted the .22 higher, trying desperately to keep her hands from shaking.

--From Buried Secrets by Margaret Daley

This was not the smartest way to die.

USAF Pararescue Jumper Manny Péna grunted, tensed his muscles and tried again to flare the canopy on his parachute.

--From A Soldier’s Family by Cheryl Wyatt

Sophie heard God in every explosion of thunder as she listened to the awesome power of the approaching storm. But there was more. There was something coming—something more than rain.

--From Petticoat Ranch by Mary Connealy

In each of the examples, you know exactly who is the viewpoint character right at the start of the chapter.

(You’ll notice that the first two examples show the characters’ full names, which they wouldn’t think to themselves if we’re in their point of view. However, when starting a story, most editors will allow for this kind of “introduction” to the reader of a character’s full name, as long as the rest of the manuscript is deeper in point of view.)




Do not switch points of view during the scene.

This is called “head hopping” and it marks you as an amateur. Yes, other multi-published, bestselling authors head hop in their own books, but you are a new writer trying to break into publishing, and you shouldn’t do it. In the current publishing business, head hopping in your manuscript will decrease your chances of being published, plain and simple.

If you switch point of view, insert a scene break to indicate the change in character viewpoint.

Some writers will write part of the scene in one person’s point of view, insert a section break, then continue the scene in the other character’s point of view. Then they’ll insert another section break, and continue the scene back in the first person’s point of view.

While this isn’t “wrong,” I personally dislike this. It smacks of lazy writing, in my opinion. I think that a good writer should be able to write a complete scene in one person’s point of view without absolutely needing to switch to the other person’s point of view right in the middle of the scene for a short section. I think that a good writer will be able to show the other character’s emotions through the viewpoint character’s eyes, or defer describing the other person’s emotional reaction to another scene.




Read other resources.

My favorite point of view books are Characters, Emotion and Viewpoint by Nancy Kress, The Power of Point of View by Alicia Rasley, and Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card.

There are also several online articles available. If you Google “point of view” and “writing” you’ll come up with a bunch. Here are a few to get you started:

http://www.gailmartin.com/tips.htm#Seeing (short and to the point)
http://www.sff.net/people/nankress/about.htm
http://www.bethanderson-hotclue.com/workshops/whose-point-of-view-is-that/
http://www.wordplayer.com/columns/wp41.Point.of.View.html
http://www.sff.net/people/alicia/artnarrow.htm
http://www.pammc.com/pov.htm
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