On the Road Again

My post today is more of an exclamation point to recent excellent posts by fellow authors here, and elsewhere. Ideas were suggested/promoted by other authors that started me thinking—as they hoped they would do—kudos all. Also, and expectedly, with our stay-at-home circumstances, I’ve been reading a lot, sometimes at the expense of writing(smile.) Consequently, given several of these mentioned recent posts, and my plethora of recently read books, I’ve been thinking anew about point of view.

I’ve thought about and talked about POV before because I consider it a big deal—but now thinking anew, I’m reassessing and enhancing. Mainly because as I’ve already mentioned, have plenty of time and many wonderful book-club selections to read (and my tendency to constantly nitpick and notice things-more often than I’d like. ) Also revisiting POV because what I think now that I’m well into my curving writing path—versus what I thought when I first started my journey, has changed some (on several fronts,) and my thoughts continue to evolve. Good thing, bad thing? Not really sure yet.

In taking the perspective of what I like to read—not genre, but style–indeed, in our book club, we read lots of books, most by famous authors, and selected based on the preferences of our members, whose tastes are luckily quiet eclectic, which is why I like book club so much. Many, many, books I’ve enjoyed reading, especially since I know I wouldn’t have read if it wasn’t the selection of the month. So, I’ve had many chances to evaluate and critique many styles of writing. And since most are quite famous and big time, my critiques are worthless analysis[i] except for my writing improvement and whether I’ll buy another book from said author. Unfortunately, weak or confused POVs sometimes have me skimming a lot, versus reading and getting into the story I was trying to read.

And finally, to my point here, to enjoy a story, and really “be taken away,” I need to experience the events of the book’s world through the protagonist eyes. Strong, clear POVs do that for me. But, not just POV in perspective of who’s telling the particular scene’s events, but what I’m going to start calling a “sensory filled perspective.” SPOV? (smile) Not just who’s talking and telling the story—revealing the sequence of events, seeing this story-world for the reader, but also touching, feeling, inhaling, hearing breathing the story. Sensually leading the reader into the special world and on the journey the author’s book is supposedly taking them. Below is an example from early on in my latest WIP…

So here’s what I had a couple days ago:

God, do I love this. Indeed, Donny very much enjoyed, even cherished what he was doing. Especially under a clear and beautifully-blue Spring sky like this morning’s. Being on the road, watching the pavement before him appearing in its unique visual perspective, “feeling” the road below his van as they moved forward, and seeing the miles fading behind him in his rearview mirror.

And here’s what I have now expanded that one little paragraph into(a rather wordy passage—sigh):

God, do I love this. Indeed, Donny very much enjoyed, even cherished what he was doing. Times like this, when thinking about being on the road, he could even feel his heart fibrillate a tad. And today, when bringing one hand to his face while keeping his other firmly on the steering wheel, his cheek felt warm to his touch. Unfocused excitement, or some kind of adventure longing? He wasn’t sure.

This morning, he was traveling under a clear and beautifully-blue Spring sky. Being on the road, watching the pavement before him appearing in its unique visual perspective, “feeling” the road below his van as they moved forward, and seeing the miles fading behind him in his rearview mirror—ahh. Sometimes though, the “road ahead perspective caused Donny to hurtfully rub his eyes behind his glasses. Not today. Thank goodness for surgery and strong glasses. He did however, experience a fleeting inner shudder upon thinking back about having his retina sliced.

So this morning, instead of his eyes, his hand went to rub his pricey fake Moroccan leather dashboard. Oddly, it felt cold to his touch, and almost prompted a shiver. Why, he wondered?

It’s still early days with this novella, many changes, modifications still to come! And going very slowly… But now, many edits will be prompted by my desire to enhance the reader’s sense of SPOV.

As usual, I’m sharing my writing-wanderings here on Writers in Residence because I’m thinking they may tickle your writing thoughts and goals as you continue down your own writing paths.

Happy Writing Trails!


[i] Happily they’re making bunches of moolah!  Sigh, I’m not. I need to learn from them…

20 thoughts on “On the Road Again”

  1. ,Well it sure tickled my thoughts a whole lot, as well as my fancy. What a pleasure to be inside your mind today with your wonderful successive edits and allow us to take this editing journey with you. You have inspired my own writing as I read yours and I am jotting down your descriptive and sensory words and phrases. We often forget those vey sense tht bring a book alive. Editing this way can be a joy when you see and feel the improvement.

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    1. Great hearing from you Kitty, especially since (as you know) I value your opinion a lot! Thanks for taking the time to comment and letting me know you also value POV as critical to an enjoyable reading experience. Just noticed a booboo in my post, off to fix (smile)

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  2. Jill, thanks so much for stopping by, and your kind words are just what I needed to hear this morning, because often with my posts, I’m wondering if they have any value to anyone but myself! And to hear your thoughts are being “tickled,” means an awfully lot to me.

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  3. I like your editing! And considerations of POV and where to go with it are always enjoyable. Keep it up–and thanks for a fun post!

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  4. Madeline, thanks for the interesting journey into your thoughts (nowadays it’s nice to be somewhere else for a change – ha ha) and your evolving perspective on POV and sensory perspective. Laying in those details, small as they may be, really help to flesh out a character and a story. Great post.

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    1. I know what you mean, Miko, about being somewhere else for a change. In a way, it should be easy during these days to retreat into our characters heads…somehow it hasn’t been as easy as I thought. Thanks for your kind words!

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  5. The amended version lets the reader see inside as well as outside the character. That’s a journey worth taking. It’s like when two characters see the same thing but react to it differently. A very good journey.

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    1. Interesting phenomena you’ve pointed out, Gayle, on how seeing inside the characters head and feel their sensory experiences, lets a reader see the outside world of your story better. You’ve stated it very well. Thanks!

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  6. Thanks, Linda! And you’ve hit upon a key point that very much applies to my writing journey–keeping it up! Thinking about all this stuff once isn’t the same as it becoming a permanent part of my writing psychie(sp).

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  7. I’m looking forward to reading your novella, Madeline. My favorite part of reading (and writing) is getting to know the main character. Using his or her five senses helps me to get inside their head and to understand them. As a result, I care what happens to them, which makes me keep turning the pages.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Patricia. It sounds like we’re very much alike in what we like to read. And the “caring” about what happens to the character is so key for me, too, not only in books, but movies, tv…no matter the story-telling medium. We’re definitely simpatico when it comes to “page turning!”

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  8. So interesting to see the additions to the sensory POV when you go back and visit your writing later, Madeline. It really brings in a whole new dimension. Great food for thought. And I realize that I always find myself smiling when ever I read your posts! Thanks Mad!

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  9. Oh Rosemary, it brings a smile to my face (and heart) knowing you’re smiling reading my ramblings! I’m still working on those silly paragraphs–rewriting for me sometimes goes a bit far…(keep smiling!)

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  10. Thanks for you post, Madeline. I just read an article that sums up this, about a blog post:
    “Our readers long for:
    Answers only we can provide
    Entertainment
    Information
    Insights into our expertise
    Sneak peeks into our personal lives.”
    And Madeline, that’s just what you did! I love your new coined phrase, “Sensory Filled Perspective.” Your literary mysteries are just that!

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    1. I’m printing your quote out so I can refer to it. Because often I’m going on and on about something no one is interested in. So thanks, Jackie, for mental and emotional boost! Smiling broadly(SPOV) smile. Made my day!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Maggie! So agree with you, “sensory detail is vital.” Somehow, when I’m reading, those sensory details are what take me into the story’s environment. Love hearing what you think. Much appreciated.

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  11. Interesting post, Mad. And, yes, it did make me think. I often almost forget about sensory detail because I get so involved in other things. I end up having to go back to add things. Thank you so much for sharing! Can’t wait for your novella.

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    1. Yes, Marja, me too sometimes. I get so involved in the plot, the scenery, dialogue, and does the story hang together–and sensory details slide. I guess that’s what editing and rewriting are for! Thank you so much for stopping by–and since it’s a novella, and I’m not going anywhere, I should be finished by now. Ha! I’m a slug of a writer…

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