Saturday, October 19, 2013

Research & POV

My current manuscript has a child's POV in it.  Wow, that's tough to write . . . much harder than I imagined, especially since my character has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.  A few weeks ago I asked for recommendations of books with the child's POV over at Facebook, and I'm working my way through them.

This one is just amazing . . . Mockingbird.  It's about a ten-year-old girl with Asperger's who is processing her brother's death.  Not only is it a study in Asperger's, it's a terrific example of deep third person POV, where you are in the character's mind so thoroughly that feel every word. 

Highly recommended!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Brush With the Government Shutdown

I'm sending my fictional friends (characters) on a camping trip to Anacapa Island.  It's one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California (think Island of the Blue Dolphins) and is part of a national park.  While researching ways to get to the island, I clicked on "make reservations" on a website and received a "Closed due to the Government Shutdown" notice.

My research can certainly wait. But I couldn't help but think of the countless people affected by the closure. Tourists. Business owners. Employees. Some Federal workers. All of us, really, because of the insecurity and insanity lurking in the air.

In fiction, a novelist works to resolve conflict, or at least to understand it. If a scene doesn't work, we start over.  And if a character doesn't cooperate , he or she gets rewritten or sent to the recycle bin. Like fiction, our government is a work in progress.  I hope the powers-that-be get their act together soon.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Picture In A Wallet

The guy in front of me in line was dressed in old dirty clothes, including a baseball cap with the American flag.  He walked with a crutch and had the glittery eyes of someone struggling to understand his surroundings. A veteran from the Vietnam era?  Maybe. Cigarette smoke wafted off his shirt. So did the smell of the street--a mix of sweat, grime and exhaust.  Or maybe exhaustion . . . It can't be easy to live in his skin.

He opened his wallet to pay.  The leather was in the same condition as the rest of him, and so was the stack of smudged business cards, wrinkled ID cards, other notes. The wallet held a grimy, depressing mess except for one full-color photograph of a girl in her late teens, smiling with perfect white teeth, her brunette hair long on her shoulders.

The picture had been taken recently judging by the girl's clothing and its pristine condition. A daughter? A niece?  I'll never know, but I wonder who she is, and if she knows what a bright spot she is in this man's life. I hope she does.