Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tip O'Day #448 - Change the POV?

Guest blogger and fellow Montana author Ann Minnett on Acceptance and Point of View:

How do you accept what you can’t change? Maybe you don't even try, preferring to fight until you’re forced to surrender. I get that. I make myself and others miserable when trying to control noncompliant people, places and things. Every time, acceptance is the key for me.

Writing helps me gain acceptance. It happened initially through journaling, but more recently in my fiction. When I write a story about the thing I can’t change, I dump all my feelings about why it’s wrong, evil or insulting. The first draft is always awful and usually in first person — we’re talking about my problem, after all. For example, I wrote this about a difficult co-worker: "His beady eyes twitched under greasy brows, avoiding me when we talked. Like a bug on a bubble, his torso kept perpendicular to me no matter how I shifted into his line of sight. It felt like he searched our break room for a woman more worthy of his time…"

Once I got over the guilty pleasure of bleeding on the page, I played with the scene. Eventually a richer story surfaced. I rewrote it in the inattentive co-worker's point of view. As a result, the story expanded from the tunnel vision of ‘first person pissed off’ into a short story with depth and character development for both people. He was not only uninterested in the female character, but unwilling to make nice with an adversary. His behavior reflected their uneasy relationship, but she pretended, nearly bullying him. My protagonist and antagonist switched characters along with POV.

Try changing the POV in a scene that gives you trouble, if not with a life situation you can’t control. You’ll have a better story, and you might experience the gift of acceptance in the process.

Ann Minnett’s first novel, Burden of Breath, is available here. Also you can follow her blog at http://annminnett.blogspot.com

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