What you never want to hear from your betas – the POV shifts or tense aren’t working.
I’ve heard back from three of the four betas for the second novel. And two of the three commented on the POV shifts. It’s written to move between a first person train of thought and a deep third person POV for the same character.
The third beta, who is purely a reader, didn’t even notice the shifts for most of the novel, but the other two definitely did. And one of them made some good arguments for why the shifts weren’t working.
So….now I have to maybe rewrite most of the novel. Because I’m thinking I may move the whole thing to first POV but eliminate the train of thought sections. So, incorporate those sections into what was formerly third person POV, but make it all first POV.
I know. You really don’t care. It’s like talking to someone about their job when they’re having some very particular issue and they go into mind-numbing detail about it and it really doesn’t matter to anyone but them.
But it is one of those “ugh” moments that writers experience. When, basically, you can either set aside the piece and move on or put in a lot more effort to make it work.
Well, I find editing to be somewhat easier than writing (less creation involved), so I’ll do it. Plus, I hate the thought of writing a whole novel and then not doing anything with it. It’s not terrible as is, but I do want to try to make it as strong as I possibly can. So, time to experiment a bit…
In the meantime, let me leave you with something of value:
I would argue that some of the items on this list apply to a lot of new writers, not just young writers. Especially numbers 2 (autobiographical), 3 (wish fulfillment), and 5 (melodramatic). And, unfortunately, for some people #4 often applies as well (lack of experience or empathy).
It’s worth reading for anyone who is starting out as a writer.
Random aside on the empathy thing: A month or so before my grandpa passed away we went to breakfast. By then he was on oxygen and had barely been able to walk across the restaurant to our booth. (Thanks Denny’s guy for sitting an old man on oxygen in the far back corner of your restaurant.)
I figured that maybe now that he was experiencing life-limiting health problems that my grandpa might finally understand some of what my father had experienced dealing with kidney disease for most of his life.
I generally avoid discussing my father or his health with my mother’s side of the family because they really never have had any empathy for his situation or any appreciation of how much he accomplished given his health issues.
But I figured, maybe now my grandpa would get it and so made a reference to my dad. Yeah, not so much.
So, I think some people are naturally empathetic and can put themselves in others’ shoes without needing to experience something themselves. And some people finally “get it” when they have to go through the same thing. But other people…they just never do. They can’t extrapolate even from their own experience and see how someone else may be suffering in the same way.