Every book, fiction and nonfiction, is written from a point of view (POV). Most nonfiction books take a first person or second person POV. Fiction books tend to be split, with trends cycling between first person and third person.
I notice most amateur writers use first person POV because they think it's easiest. In some ways, it is because they need only focus on the perceptions of the protagonist, the character narrating the story. That gets a little more complicated with alternating first person POV, popular in romance, especially in the "New Adult" sub-genre. In alternating first person POV, each chapter comes from the "voice" of one of the protagonists. I recently read The Pilot and the Puck-up by Pippa Grant that made excellent use of alternating first person POV. I also can't remember the last time a book had me laughing so hard. The benefit for the reader is a deeply intimate immersion into the character's personality and thoughts.
Books written in the second person POV tend to be conversational, the protagonist "speaking" to the reader. This becomes difficult in novel length work, but authors of self-help books find it useful in addressing their audience directly. It lends a sense of intimacy between author and reader.
I actually prefer using third person POV. This viewpoint can be broken down into two basic categories: omniscient and limited omniscient. I use the latter, giving readers insights into select characters thoughts, motivations, and personalities. Not every character needs that level of development. The peril of using third person POV is jumping from one character's head into the next and the next and so on without adequate transition. Readers today decry what they label "head hopping," although venerated authors like Georgette Heyer did it and no one complained. I figure that as long as the reader understands whose head we're in, then it's not necessary to split chapters among characters. After all, characters don't hold their thoughts and opinions to themselves until a particular chapter has concluded.
Regardless of whether the author uses first person or third person POV, the upshot is that the author must speak from that character's viewpoint and immerse himself within that character's personality. If there was ever a formula for mastering split personalities, then fiction authors use it. When writing, we speak with voices not our own, we see through eyes not our own, we experience emotions and internalize motivations not our own. In short we share the imaginary bodies and minds of the characters we create. Those characters become real, oftentimes more real to us than actual people because they manifest in our minds and take up residence. They're always with us.
It's my guess that ventriloquists suffer ... er ... enjoy the same multitude of personalities living within them, too.
Pyotr watched the love of his life move about the kitchen with languid grace, like a butterfly floating in a beehive. Where clanging chaos reigned, pots steamed, and skillets sizzled, Cecily maintained an almost otherworldly calm as she directed cooks and busboys and waiters. His stomach rumbled in anticipation of the supper she would later cook for him and his groin tightened in anticipation of sinking into her plump, soft flesh that night.
She looked up, eyes lighting with pleasure to see him standing at the kitchen door. To Pyotr, her smile brightened the entire place as though a star from the heavens had descended to earth to illuminate his life.
Bog, he was getting sappy.
He nodded at her, but she'd already turned her attention to the stovetop, and returned to the small dining room of the restaurant, The Matrynoshka, the restaurant Maksim and Olivia had purchased.
"Your woman needs a kitchen and I need a legitimate and profitable business," Maksim said as sat beside Pyotr, Gennady, and Iosif as they cheered the graduation of Cecily and her roommate, Latasha. The girls' other and former roommate, Gia, would graduate next semester.
Maksim continued, "With your Cecily cooking, the restaurant is sure to be successful."
He'd been uneasy about meeting her parents who had traveled up from some tiny town in southern Indiana, but they'd greeted him cordially enough. He supposed it helped that his suit, tailored to accommodate the expanse of his shoulders and generally big frame, hid the tattoos that festooned his arms and chest. He wasn't as heavily tattooed as Vitaly, but enough so that a discerning eye would notice that much of that ink had been imprinted into his skin in prison. And some in the military. Like Vitaly, he'd been an orphan and transitioned immediately upon adulthood to army life.
He'd hated the army.
It was weird that life after the army imposed as much discipline and rules as during, with less forgiveness or tolerance.
The money was better, certainly.
"Privet," a deep voice captured his attention, followed by a heavy hand clapping down on his shoulder. "You got a table for us?"
"Vitaly!" With a kiss to the big man's cheeks, Pyotr welcomed his old colleague and friend. He saw that Gia, Vitaly's myopic Italian wife, stood beside him, smiling a little uncertainly. "And Gia!" He kissed her cheeks, too, with just enough flair to make Vitaly growl.
"What am I, chopped liver?" demanded the irrepressible Latasha, her skinny figure dwarfed by Iosif, who gently and firmly restrained her by means of a big hand splayed across her belly.
"Of course not," Pyotr chuckled as he bussed her on the forehead. Vitaly might tolerate a little teasing, but Iosif would not. "It's good to see you, Latasha."
"I'm surprised it's so busy," Gia commented, looking around as she adjusted her glasses.
"Three-quarters of the customers are Bratva," Vitaly remarked, his keen eyes sweeping the room.
"And the rest are mafia," Iosif murmured.
"Well, if the food's as good as I think it will be, then regular customers will soon be coming in," Gia said. "I have faith in Cecily. She's a terrific cook."
"She's a great chef," Pyotr corrected with pride.
"Is Maksim coming tonight?" Iosif inquired.
"No," Vitaly replied and switched to Russian. "He had business in Springfield. Giuseppe Maglione requested a favor."
"Da. Something to do with Giancarla's parents. He didn't elaborate."
"They're somewhat estranged, aren't they?"
Vitaly shrugged. As far as Giuseppe Maglione was concerned, the Bratva owed him a favor for ridding Cleveland of the Culebras. A family dinner had witnessed the very unusual and eerie spectacle of the usually dour mafia don laughing and calling himself the St. Patrick of Cleveland. He'd had to look that one up to understand the reference.
A shiver ran through Gia's body and immediately she immediately occupied his whole attention.
"What's wrong, vozlyublennaya?"
"I'm queasy," she muttered, breathing shallow, rapid breaths.
With murmured excuses, he left the small group and steered his wife toward the restroom.
E-book theft is big. I mean BIG. Authors by the hundreds or even thousands subscribe to services like Blasty.co that comb the World Wide Web for copyright infringements and outright theft of entire books. No one site catches everything and they are limited in what they can do without the site owners' cooperation. That compliance certainly isn't assured, either, because they knowingly listed books on their site for distribution (free or for a price) that they have no right to give away or sell.
Of course, these sites wouldn't exist if they didn't have customers, people who think nothing of downloading (i.e., stealing) content for which they did not pay. After all, they knowingly frequent these sites just for that purpose. Some authors ignore the rampant theft that goes on because (1) the people who steal their work wouldn't read it if they had to pay for it; and, (2) they believe there's nothing they can do about theft.
I know that I can't stop all the theft, but to do nothing implies consent. At least in my mind, a lack of action implies consent and an acknowledgement that the work holds no value. Really? All that time and work, plus the investment in editing and cover design ... doesn't that have value?
I digress and will hop off that soapbox.
Anyway, I came across an article on old-fashioned theft deterrents, old-fashioned as in truly medieval: "Protect Your Library the Medieval Way: With Horrifying Book Curses." And it got me to thinking. What would be the response if I inserted such curses in my books?
Would readers be offended? Amused? Or would they care at all? Should curses be written in Latin, English, or Klingon? Does the language matter?
Given that the people who already steal books wouldn't be the sort to let a curse deter them, threats of excommunication and the fiery pits of hell won't make a difference. Their opinions don't worry me. But the opinions of those who kindly pay for my books does matter.
A lot of authors have dedication pages in their books. Why not have a curse page, too? Who'd like to take a crack at crafting a really impressive book curse? Interested? Send me your best.
The vocabulary we know frames our thoughts and our thoughts frame and inspire everything else we do. That ties in with this week's blog prompt: "How books can influence daily life."
Where would the world be without the philosophical inquiries of Plato and the nihilist philosophies of Freidrich Nietzche? Without the mind-breaking insight of Charles Darwin or W. Edwards Demming? Without Mein Kampf and the Magna Carta? In some instances, the world might be a much better place; in others, not so much. These types of books affect daily life, from the subjects taught in schools to how we treat others to the practices that keep business humming.
Because words frame what we think and, therefore, what we do, literature truly occupies a place of critical importance in human life. Even if one cannot read, one hears stories. The ancient oral traditions lasted centuries, perhaps millennia, before someone had the bright idea, the skill, and the supply of parchment and ink to write them down for lasting posterity. In the greater scheme of things, yes, books really do influence our daily lives in profound ways.
However, we don't always recognize that effect, because it's so ingrained into what we believe, what we think, and how we act. The devout may refer daily to their religious scriptures, a conscious effort that they use to maintain a desired level of spirituality. Newspapers, especially for those who live in regions prone to harsh winter weather, affect daily lives in a more direct way--or they did before everyone started checking their cell phones for weather information. I remember checking the paper each morning to see what adjustments I'd have to make according to the predicted weather.
Perhaps we're looking for something a little more intimate than deciding whether the weather forecast means we ought to bring an umbrella to work or throw snow chains in the car. The prompt specifically refers to books. The words "daily life" bring to mind the little things we do, the mundane. Books influence major life decisions. I knew a woman who read a book that convinced her to divorce her husband. Cookbooks influence what you might make for dinner, perhaps coq a vin instead of chicken cacciatore. Their mundane influence goes deep into our lives.
I wouldn't have latched onto the admittedly arbitrary preference for Morgan horses if it weren't for Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (My second favorite breed is Arabian, influenced--of course--by Marguerite Henry's King of the Wind.)
Fairy tales and Greek and Nordic mythology can be held responsible for my enduring fascination with otherworldly creatures, magic, and high adventure.
Books, especially those in the fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and romance genres, feed my imagination and inspire me to make writing a viable career option.
My mother introduced me to literature, from Sydney Taylor's stories about a working class Jewish family in the early 20th century to, yes, the frontier stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder and John D. Fitzgerald to the improbably perfect heroines of Barbara Cartland's historical romances to the cut-glass mysteries of Dick Francis. Her influence led me to a lifetime of reading that framed my oftentimes subversive thinking and, yes, led to some occasionally weird and inexplicable decisions and actions.
Did the devil make me do it? Or was it Mom all along?
Perhaps Freud was right: everything can be blamed upon one's mother. Boy, have I got a lot to answer for.
Promotions From Vendors Attending The 2019 Winter
Syd Ryan works as a qualified mental health specialist with troubled youth in a teen mental health residential facility. Concussions, aches, and pains don’t stop her. Syd works sixteen-hour shifts and her best writing happens after midnight. Syd is married, and a mother to three boys. She holds two college degrees: in nursing and exercise science. Syd is the author of two full length novels Stronger and Worthy, and a novella Unexpected Gift in the Spiced Holiday Kisses Anthology.
She read over 300 romance books in her Goodreads challenge last year and a desire to write a novel wouldn’t leave her head. She developed her love of romance novels watching her mom reading romance and drinking Coke when she was little. She rekindled her love of books after reading Fifty Shades of Grey. She enjoys her free time surfing social media, reading books, and being a crazy baseball mom.
Syd loves stalkers, please check out all her social media pages.
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Authors Alyne Hart, Kara Liane, Syd Ryan, Kelsey Cheyenne, Harlow Layne and debut author Larissa Gail come together to create a sizzling collection of holiday-inspired stories. Outside the weather is getting colder, but these stories have all the heat and spice you need to stay warm!
All proceeds will be donated to The American Cancer Society
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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