Today's tip was sent in by Kristin Lenz who contributes to the group blog YA Fusion. When you're done reading her tip below, make sure you hop over there. She's featuring an interview with authors Erin McCahan and Vicky Alvalear Shecter and editor Cheryl Klein called "2 Authors + 1 Editor = 3 Free Books." Yes, there's a giveaway too! But before you rush over, here's Kristin's tip:
Barbara Kingsolver’s epic novel, The Poisonwood Bible, has five alternating narrators. During her revision process, Kingsolver wrote scenes from the point of view of each and every one of those characters.
“I spent nearly a year getting the hang of the Price girls, by choosing a practice scene and writing it in every different voice. I did that over and over until I felt the rhythm and verbal instincts of character.” From: http://www.kingsolver.com/faq/previous-books.html#32
Later, Kingsolver chose which voice was right for each particular scene. And this was a 500+ page novel. Can you imagine?
Yep, that’s the tip I’m recommending, but on a much smaller scale. Do you have a rough draft that feels kind of flat? Are there actions/dialogue/scenes that don’t quite ring true? Do you have characters who are only two-dimensional?
Try writing some of the scenes from that under-developed character’s point of view. In my work-in-progress, I discovered that the boyfriend spoke and acted differently when I wrote from his perspective. For example, in one of my original scenes, he responded passively when his brother was rude to his girlfriend. I had been primarily focused on my female protagonist’s actions and emotions. But in the scene rewritten from the boyfriend’s POV, he jumped up and told his brother off.
Now, I need to decide if I want to keep the alternating narratives in my story, or fold these new scenes into my old scenes for richer characterization.
Of course, if you have Pulitzer Prize aspirations like Barbara Kingsolver, go ahead and write each and every scene from multiple points of view. Good luck with that!