It's my book and I'll hop if I want to!
A wonderful friend and fellow author recently performed an in depth review of Pay Attention, the first book in the Maeve Tidewell, Pay Series. The review was amazingly detailed and more helpful than I ever imagined.
One of her recommendations (per her own editor) challenged me to think long and hard about what kind of author I am, and if my style of writing is something that a large enough audience would like to read.
She suggested that I take a second look at the way I handle point of view. You see, in many of my scenes (in every one of my books) I have a tendency to "brain hop." This means that the point of view shifts from one character in the scene to another.
She tells me that most editors and publishers believe that this shifting of point of view can be confusing to readers, and should be avoided. Phooey!
This insight prompted a round table conversation with my two most trusted "Beta" readers, and boy was it enlightening.
After dissecting several scenes containing more than one point of view, we all agreed that the shifting perspectives added excitement and tension, creating an intensity beyond what would be experienced from a single point of view.
But that wasn't the only thing these two brilliant readers had to say. Because we are all BIG Jonathan Kellerman fans, his Alex Delaware series was brought up as an example.
All of the stories in this series are told from a single, first person perspective. That of psychologist Alex Delaware. Now, this is certainly not a criticism as the man is a genius and far richer and more famous than I could ever hope to be. (Well, I do hope. But you get my point.) I devour Kellerman's books, going on days long binges of Alex Delaware escapades, then search for volumes I may have missed. But.
Sometimes I just want to know what Milo is thinking. I mean, I think I know what he's thinking, because his body language and witty quips let me know, but do I really know what's going on in his mind? I think not.
The conversation then vectored from fiction to reality, where one reader said, "Isn't that why we connect with, and build relationships with, other people? To hear how their perspectives differ from our own?"
"We want to know, as readers and as people, what others are thinking and experiencing. If we didn't then life would be very limited and dull," said the second.
A profound statement to be sure.
"But is the change in viewpoint confusing?" I ask. Neither one of my readers admitted to feeling the least bit puzzled as the story dances from one mind to another. They were adamant. Don't change it!
So this is what I have decided. I believe I can count on the fact that my readers are intelligent, interested people who can appreciate how different characters are reacting to adrenaline pumping situations.
And, they're my books, so I'll hop if I want to!