(These pictures have nothing to do with this post, but they're too cute to be kept to myself.)
And while writing in first person does curb the tendency to hop heads, there can still be sticky spots. I didn't know this until my first agent marked them in the manuscript for Me, Just Different. You're learning it now, so you won't have to go through the embarrassment of being like, "Oh, but I write in first person, so I thought... Yes, I see where I made the mistake... Okay, let me change that..."
I had a couple places where I ran into problems. One was in backstory. When I was writing about what was happening, I was fine. But if I was telling the backstory of a character, I tended to do something like this:
"I know this must be hard for you," I said to Sandy.
Sandy was ready to adopt Andrew in a heartbeat, but Carl, her husband did not feel the same pull Sandy did. When several other families in our church expressed an interest in adopting Andrew, Carl pushed for it.
I then went into detail about Carl and Sandy's conversation. Which my character was not in the room for, so... why is she sharing it like she was?
But what tripped me up the most were the descriptions between dialogue. Note the part in red below:
“We’re not engaged,” I say. “We never were. We talked about it but … he's with someone else.”
“You’re not engaged?” Eric asks. He sees my face and tries not to act so happy.
I am trying to hold back tears. “No I’m not."
There's also some lameness going on in that exchange, but you'll have to put that aside and focus on the red part. There are a couple words that make this lousy writing, one being hte word "tries." I'm sure we've all experienced that thing where we share a piece of news and watch someone try to act one way when it's clear their feelings are the opposite. That's a fine thing to convey to the reader. But the way it's currently written speaks about what's going on within Eric, not how it looks on the outside.
The other problem phrase is "He sees" which indicates that this is from Eric's POV ... which it's not. And the POV character isn't in Eric's head, so she doesn't know what he sees or what he's trying to do. All she knows is what she observes. Which is that he's looking at her, and that he is doing a poor job of hiding the fact that he's happy.
A better way to write the sentence marked in red is, "Eric must see my sadness because he replaces his smile with a frown. But it can't hide the glimmer in his eyes."
You might think this is getting too picky, going too far, and that's fine. But these are the kinds of things my agent and editor dinged when they read my manuscript, things I would have corrected had I realized I was doing them wrong.
I know you all will be saddened to talk about something other than POV technicalities, but next week we'll move on and talk about confidence issues and, depending on how long that takes, the use of flashbacks. And - yay - there'll be a new prompt posted on Monday.
Any POV questions left that I can answer?
Have a great weekend everyone!