Grace's Mosaic Moments


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Editing Basics

Four girls from Markham Middle (our Riley on the right) ready for All-State Chorus in Tampa.


DISASTER STRIKES AGAIN

Just when we were hoping we were done with natural disasters, another catastrophe. Late last fall, the "Thomas" fire, the largest wildfire in California history, denuded the steep hillsides in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, north of Los Angeles. So when 5" of rain fell this week, there was no vegetation to stabilize the steep hillsides, resulting in mud slides that have devastated the region with huge rock falls as well as mud. Whole houses were swept away, the death toll still rising. Blizzards and unusually low temperatures elsewhere in the country. Just the way the ball bounces? Or climate change? Whichever, it ain't good!



~ * ~

EDITING BASICS

As many of you know, every once in a while I offer concrete examples of what I mean by "editing." Naturally, I have to use my own work, as I don't want to offend any of my fellow writers by playing with theirs! So even if you hate Regency, Gothic, Medieval, Suspense, Mystery, SciFi, or Steampunk, hang in there. Hopefully you'll get the message even if you dislike the medium. [Except - oops - I spent so much time introducing the subject that the examples will have to wait a couple of weeks. (Next week I'll be introducing my latest tale of Suspense, Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart.) So I've changed the name of this week's blog from "Editing Examples" to "Editing Basics."]

Grace note:  For a list of my many detailed posts on editing since January 2011, please see the most recent "Index to Grace's Writing and Editing Posts" (which clearly needs a new edition!). The following is merely a bare bones outline.
For the August 2017 index, click here.

Introduction to Editing:

Editing is multi-faceted. It is on-going. It never stops until you click "Send" to an Agent or Editor. Or "Publish" at the end of an online vendor's upload form. But what do I mean by editing, and why should you do it? Your words are perfection, unassailable. Dictates straight from your brain to your computer, using the sacred medium of a keyboard. Bow down before them, world, and wonder at their greatness!

Oops! I'm beginning to sound like . . .

Alternative facts aside, you may be that rare author who gets every word right the first time around, but the bald truth is, most of us don't. And you're strongly advised to consider yourself among the 99.9 percent who need to edit, rather than have the arrogance to believe you belong in the .1 percent who don't.

For the sake of those who joined us after the last time I explained the two basic types of editing . . .

CONTENT EDITING. This is the really important one. Have you identified your characters? Given enough description to make them interesting? Have you created in-depth characters, made the plot clear? Have you alternated light and dark, action, reaction, recovery? Have you been too cryptic in your sentences, or perhaps your sentences run on and on into infinity. (As they do in a certain bombshell book that came out this week.) Upon re-reading, do your sentences say what you thought they said? In other words, Content Editing is everything BUT the nitty gritty of copy editing.

COPY EDITING. This is the tedious job of checking spelling, grammar, continuity, making sure the facts are straight. It's line by line torture, but it's an absolute necessity to keep your book from looking like Amateur Night in Dixie (if you'll pardon the use of a very old saying).

"I'm submitting my book to an agent with a New York publishing house in mind. They have all sorts of staff, so why should I bother to edit?"

First of all, your pride should demand that you submit the best possible presentation of your work. Secondly, if the editor or agent has two manuscripts of equal quality and he/she can accept only one, which gets the nod? The manuscript that's going to take up hours and hours of the editor's time? The one they're going to have to pay a copy editor overtime to correct? Or the manuscript that will require minimal time and effort? Nuff said.


A BRIEF LOOK AT EDITING, STEP BY STEP

1.  Run Spell Check! Pay attention. Don't let the program make changes you don't want. CONTROL the flow. (I recommend running Spell Check at the end of each chapter. Just as you should be saving to some type of back-up device at the end of each writing session.)

2.  Read! At the end of each chapter (at the most, two), read over every word. (I recommend doing this on hardcopy, but perhaps that's because I was editing long before word processing existed.) In any event, you need to "discover" what you've actually said. You likely need to add color, clarification (etc.) - or perhaps you "ran off at the keyboard" and need to pare your sentences down to something more concise. Change a word, revise sentences, revise paragraphs, insert descriptions, etc., as necessary. Basically, this is where you begin to make your work better. Make it come alive.

3.  While doing Edit One . . . look for typos, missing words, repeated words, unintentional bad grammar, unchecked facts, phrases that just don't make sense. (That's COPY editing.)

Grace note:   Now that you've made your manuscript more "meaty," perhaps even adding or deleting a character here and there, you are finally ready to move on to next chapter. Editing early allows you to catch mistakes that can escalate into an almost insurmountable fix.

4.  Second Edit. Choose a certain number of chapters (I use five.) At the end of that number of chapters, do a second meticulous edit. You'll still find copy edit problems, but this second edit should be more for the flow of your story. Do the chapters move well from one to another? Do you have a hook or two that keeps readers moving forward? This is when you find yourself saying, Oh wow, I never really made it clear why she did that. Or woops! That's a lousy transition from Chapter 4 to 5, more a "Huh?" than fun to read. (And yes, I do this edit on hardcopy as well. Which means I have to take the time to type in my revisions, but that's what works for me. If you can get the "feel" of what needs to be done from on-screen copy, that's fine.)

Don't forget to run Spell Check after every chapter!
 
5.  Third Edit.  When each 5-chapter section of my book has been edited twice from Chapter 1 to "The End," and every last revision inserted in the proper place, I print out the entire book and go through it a third time for both polishing the prose and copy editing. (FYI, I type in the revisions at the end of each 5-chapter section. The whole idea of working in sections is so you don't feel overwhelmed by an entire book's worth of edits.)

6. Fourth Edit. I remember the days when I felt my books didn't need a fourth edit. Those days are long gone. This edit, however, is optional. It's possible you really did get the result you wanted by the third edit. In recent years, however, I've been repeating the whole process one more time to make sure all the inserts, deletions, and revisions I made in Edit Three read smoothly.

7.  Final Edit (for indie authors only).  This is the one featured in last week's blog - where you're doing a final run-through of single-spaced, justified copy just prior to upload. Even at this point, it is still possible to find mistakes, or think of a better word, or realize you left some vital motivation out. It's not too late. This is when even I edit "on screen." (And never, even at this point, forget to save to a flash drive or wherever you save your backup copy.)

SUMMARY.  As anyone who reads Mosaic Moments regularly knows, I only give advice. I never say, "My way or the highway." (Too many so-called experts are already guilty of that.) Each author is an individual and must devise his/her own approach to editing. Which is all right, as long as you do it, and do it meticulously and well. Or hire someone to do it for you.

Never, ever, simply enter a Required Page End at the end of a chapter, 
heave a great sigh, and think you're done!

~ * ~

For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.


For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here. 

To request a brochure from Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, please use the link to Blair's website above.
 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace





 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Indie Formatting


The Reale Family at The Island, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Thursday, Jan. 4: I guess you have to be young to enjoy "up north." (Not that Tennessee really qualifies as "up north" - except vertically.) But I'm freezing in Central Florida at the moment where the high today is 47°F. (8.33 C.) (My begonia and basil are sitting on my dining room table - in response to a predicted three freezing nights in a row. Sigh. I had to let my vines take the nip - the flowers on the Black-eyed Susans are shriveled to nothing, but the leaves are surviving - so far.

Friday, Jan. 5: Last night all my plants curled up their toes except my herbs. Even the pansies are drooping, the vinca is wrinkled up as the Black-eyed Susans. Alas, even the leaves are damaged - first time in many years I've lost my plants. Yard is barren - not something we're used to here in Florida. 

Fence last week









Fence this week. Sigh.














On top of that, I forgot to bring in my pink geranium. Double sigh.

~ * ~ 

FORMATTING FOR INDIE PUB

 In November, as I formatted both The Blackthorne Curse and Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart for Indie pub, it seemed a good time to talk about this basic subject again. But so many things were happening around that time that this post got put off until the New Year. [And because I put this post off for six weeks or so, I may have missed a step somewhere. If so, abject apologies. Let me know so I can fix it -  in Blog Comments or by "Contact" on my website (below).

I am one of those authors who absolutely refuses to give up the superior word processing available with Word Perfect, which inevitably makes more work when I have to translate my manuscripts into Word. The editing process, however, is the same in every program. Edit for content, copy edit for typos, missing words, etc. Then do it all again and again, as necessary. Only when you have a truly polished manuscript do you go to the steps below.

So . . . for authors who haven't done this yet, or authors who struggled with the process and are still shaky about how to get it right , here, step by step, is how to do the job in Word2016. Hopefully, these instructions are adaptable for those using other word processing systems.


REPEAT:

FULL STOP:  Do not begin the formatting steps below until you have edited, re-edited, polished, and fully agonized over every word in your book. The steps below are FINAL ones, the last thing you do before upload. Fiction manuscripts will also need cover art. More about that can be found on the publishers' websites.


Grace Note: The instructions below presume your manuscript has page numbers. Mine do, for two reasons: I edit hardcopy. And I've been formatting manuscripts that way since I typed mss for my mother on a manual typewriter when I was in high school! Hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Before you begin, all sections of your manuscript must be in one document. (I usually have c. six 5-chapter segments.)  To make the sections into one document:

1. Open Section 1; copy with an "overall" name. 
Example: I opened Lady 1 and copied it as Lady2016. 
Be sure to place a Required Page End at the end of Section 1.* (Control+Enter)

*I am presuming you already have Required Page Ends at the end of each of the previous chapters.

2. Open Section 2. Select All - Copy - Paste at the end of Section 1. Add Required Page End. Repeat process with other sections until all are in one continuous document.
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After your book is in ONE document:

1.  Be sure all margins are 1" (or the European equivalent)

2.  Delete all Headers.

3.  Delete all Page Numbering. (This step may have to be repeated at the beginning of each of your old sections.)

4.  Change Line Spacing to 1 (single space).

5. Format Paragraph - First Line Indent - change from .05 (standard ms) to .03 (book).

6.  Select All - Alignment - Justification (This makes a straight right margin as well as left.)
 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Now - working with the manuscript itself . . .

1.  Turn on what few codes MS Word offers - click on the ¶ sign in the Toolbar.

2.  As you go through the ms, look for anomalies, such as two spaces in a row. A manual (instead of auto) margin tab (which won't work in an ebook), missing Required Page Ends at the end of a chapter, etc. (MS Word shows only a few codes, so this isn't nearly the chore it is when working in Word Perfect. Or as helpful.)

3.  General Instruction: as you do a final read of your manuscript, continue to look for typos, missing words, and places where your ms could be just a wee bit better in spite of all the editing you've already done.

4.  Oh yes, and whatever you do, I beg you not to put an Index at the front of a Fiction book. It's absolutely ridiculous. It looks like amateur night in Dixie. (Somebody said I should do that, so . . .

5.  Format the beginning of each chapter as you come to it. In most cases this means making the Chapter Number a uniform number of spaces from the top. (I use two.)

a.  Highlight & increase Chapter Number font. (I usually go to 14.)

b.  Center Chapter font, if desired. (This involves an extra step, (c) below.)

c.  Paragraph - First Line Indent - Change .03 to .00. (Otherwise the centering will be off.)

6. Date & Location lines. These lines are generally placed Flush left, in italics. Again, it will be necessary to highlight the line(s) and change the First Line Indent from .03 to .00.

7. Indenting quoted notes or letters in a manuscript. The classic rule is to put letters in italics and indent both sides if the letter is 3 lines or longer. But most electronic readers are smaller than books of the hardcover era when these rules were made, so my advice:  Indent only the left side of your copy, using the "book" indent of .03. [I found Word2016 did its best to make changing margins within a manuscript as obscure as possible, but it can be done. (In Word2003 it was easy, as it is in Word Perfect.) Sigh.]
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When you reach the end:

1.  Add a short bio of yourself, including links to your website, blog, Facebook Author Page - whatever strikes your fancy.

2. Add a well-organized list of all your books and series.

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FINAL BIT OF ADVICE:

If you're really into the business end of writing - you love the challenge of squeezing out every cent by doing all your own formatting for every e-reader, phone, & tablet in existence - then you won't want to read my final bit of advice. But for the rest of you . . .
I format for upload only in Microsoft Word. I don't struggle with any of the other formats. I upload my books to Amazon and Smashwords and let Smashwords do their "thing" - translating my books into every known format. Which they do almost instantaneously, to my constant wonder. [And the free Smashwords Style Guide (to Indie Publishing) by Mark Coker, Smashwords' founder, is a "must" for any aspiring indie author.]

Grace note:  It will be necessary to save your formatted manuscript into Word 2003 for upload to Smashwords, as that is the format their system was designed for. (It's a simple "Save As" in all MS Word programs.)

The Wonder Publishers of the world:

https://kdp.amazon.com/

https://www.smashwords.com/upload

~ * ~

This week I uploaded a new post to my Facebook Author Page. It contains what I hope is interesting background information on why I kept a tale of Suspense on the shelf for eight years. Hidden Danger, Hidden Heart will finally make its debut later this month. It's a tale that mixes agricultural terrorism with immigration issues and features a romance with an almost insurmountable culture clash. If you'd like to read background on HDHD, click here.


For a link to Blair Bancroft's website, click here.
 


To request a brochure from Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, please use the link to my website above. See Menu on the right.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Update on Series


My neighbor's landlord still hasn't fixed the fence, but my flowers have made a comeback since Irma.
Actually, not fixing the fence is probably good, for if the landlord decides to replace the fence, it's bye-bye to the Black-eyed Susans and Passion Flower I've been growing for the past 2½ years. Sigh.


Table decoration

Fortunately, Squeak allowed the table to be set for Christmas dinner. No tromping on the plates or kicking over the wine glasses. Though the centerpiece has become fair game since we cleared the table.


My modest tree - downsized when I moved to Longwood - but it's full of memories, from an ornament I made at age 10 to those made by my children when little. Items bought all over the U.S., including the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, plus islands in the Caribbean, Harrods in London, and Tralee, Ireland. Also, ornaments acquired from Amway to the Orlando Art Museum's Festival of Trees. There's everything from hand-blown glass to hand-crocheted snowflakes. Butterflies from Key West, birds from ? And garlands from Target. Altogether a fun tree, and this year my granddaughter Hailey took over from her mother as the person designated to help Gramma "put up the tree" and "get the lights plugged in all the right sockets." First time we ever got it right on the first try! (Thanks to a 14-yr-old's sharp eyes.)

And yes, those are actual videotapes on the shelf in the background. The ones I wouldn't give up when I moved. And they still work.

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MORE THOUGHTS ON WRITING A SERIES

 I literally plunged into writing Royal Rebellion, Book 4 of my Blue Moon Rising series, about three weeks before Christmas—when I was in final formatting for The Blackthorne Curse. I had not intended to start it until January, but it simply insisted on coming into this world early. The result was "Interim," the introduction that tied Book 4 to the previous three books in the series. The Interim that I published to this blog as the short story, "The Witch and the Wolf."

And in the eleven chapters of Royal Rebellion that I've written since then, I discovered a confirmation of what was previously posted here about different kinds of series. If you write a romance series—say, featuring a group of friends, even loosely associated friends—each tale is new with characters from previous books putting in brief appearances here and there, oftentimes helping with a crisis at the end. The books of Mary Balogh are good examples of this kind of series. Also, Jayne Castle/Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick has written a whole slew of loosely connected stories of the paranormal, with characters ranging from Victorian times to their descendants on another planet far in the future.

And then there is the type of series—often mysteries—where a small core of characters play continuing central roles, but the story is new each time. The author has the advantage of having established characters to play with, but the challenge of coming up with new villains and varying plots each time.  The books of Jack Higgins and Linda Castillo are good examples of this.

Thirdly, there are authors like George R. R. Martin who has one long story arc, with a thousand characters and nearly as many offshoots of the main plot, with the action taking place over a period of years. This kind of series might be called "Epic"  or "Saga." Anne McCaffrey's classic Dragonrider series is also an example of this kind of series. (Although not a book series, the many Star Wars movies also fit this category.)

And, in my own modest way, that's what my Blue Moon Rising series is—an epic saga, featuring a huge cast of characters with a wide variety of Points of View, and action stretching over more than a decade. What I discovered when I approached the fourth and final book is this:

I had set up so many characters and situations in the first three books—some more complex than I'd realized at the time—that Book 4 is practically writing itself. The wry humor of some of the romantic situations practically leaps off the page. Plus the complexity of "What's the difference between a defector and a traitor?" (Depends on which side you're on.)  Who is friend, who is foe? Are we sure, sure, sure? As I begin Chapter 12, I'm certainly having a lot of fun with it. But how to avoid a high body count, as basically the planet hosting the rebel headquarters is strongly pacifist? Haven't figured that one out yet. (I am an "out of the mist" author, after all.)

What it comes down to is: Series are fun to write. You can do far more character development over a whole slew of books, while indulging in a greater variety of plots and sub-plots than one book allows. There's also that aspect we've mentioned before—readers like series, snapping up each new book to find out what is happening in the lives of their favorite characters. And that's money in the bank.

Recommendation:  If you haven't tried writing a series, give it serious consideration. If you already write series, keep those stories coming. I am an avid reader and just as addicted to that "next book" as everyone else.

~ * ~

Hurricane Update

 Since Hurricane Maria, 215,000 Puerto Ricans have come to Florida. Only 45% of the power has been restored to the island. Here in the Orlando area, affordable housing has become a major problem, and the schools are struggling to cope with an influx of children who speak little English. This week was the last opportunity for Floridians with hurricane damage to file claims with FEMA. The 11-mile scenic drive around Lake Apopka just reopened after being heavily damaged during Irma. And, as seen above, not all fences have been repaired, although the debris piles are finally gone. Let's hope this year's storms are not a precursor of 2018!

 
For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.


For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here. 
To request a brochure from Grace's editing service, Best Foot Forward, please use the link to my website above. See Menu on the right.
 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace
 




Saturday, December 16, 2017

Holiday Greetings


A combination of music and photos to brighten the holiday season. 


Here is Susie singing "Ave Maria" against a backdrop of photos she took herself. (This video is two or three years old but well worth watching even if you've seen it before.

For Susie Kone Reale singing Schubert's "Ave Maria," click here.

For over a decade now our family has attended the Orlando Museum of Art's Festival of Trees, their major fund-raising event of the year (in early November). And for the past three or four years the Citrus Singers have performed as part of the entertainment. So . . . I've saved the photos for a "Christmas Special."

Susie & Singers on stage at the Art Museum

Oh, the wonderful gingerbread houses . . .



   




















 






 And, of course, the many, many trees - these are just a few of my favorites.






A personal favorite












HAPPY HOLIDAYS and BEST WISHES
for a SPARKLING 2018!
 ~ * ~

Saturday, December 16:
What's that old expression? WE WUZ ROBBED! When it was time for the Citrus Singers to sing the National Anthem at the Cure Bowl today (on the CBS Sports Channel), the network cut to commercial! Would you believe? Everyone there said the girls did their usual great job, but really! That was not nice. We do, however, have a good picture of how they looked during rehearsal, courtesy of one of the parents:


 


Last but not least—please consider a little reading over the holiday - my Christmas novella, Mistletoe Moment, my Regency Gothic, The Blackthorne Curse, or my Regency Historical/Suspense, The Lady Takes a Risk. (Or one of my 30+ other books.)


~ * ~

For a link to Blair Bancroft's web site, click here.



For a link to Blair's Facebook Author Page, click here. 
 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace



Saturday, December 9, 2017

Point of View

Soccer 2010 - that's Hailey in the back with the big smile.
Soccer 2017 - Riley & Cassidy in action
When I went to post a photo from the last game of the 2017 soccer season, I found the 2010 photo and I realized I began taking Hailey to soccer skills class in East Orlando in the fall of 2007. So . . . a whole decade of soccer with the three grand girls. (And a lot of learning for me too, as I knew nothing about soccer until moving to Orlando.)

* * * * *

QUESTION FROM GRACE

I've been posting my thoughts on Writing and Editing to this blog since January 2011. In spite of a semi-annual Index, there are now so many posts that even I find it difficult to locate what I need (as happened when I was researching Point of View this week). I would very much like to hear your thoughts on my organizing all these posts into book form - perhaps one on Writing and one on Editing - and making them available (for a modest price) on Amazon and Smashwords. There are, however, so many how-to books that the thought may be ridiculous. So, PLEASE, take a moment to let me know what you think. I like to believe I provide a unique perspective - more personal and less academic than most - but who knows??

REPEAT! I really would appreciate your taking the time to comment on this question. (To express your thoughts on this subject, please scroll down to "Comments" at the very end.)


* * * * *

POINT OF VIEW

A question about Point of View popped up on one of my Author email loops recently, and when I went back to see what I had written on POV before, I decided the subject could use a bit of updating.

What is Point of View?

Point of View refers to the thoughts, actions, reactions, and speech of the person narrating a scene. Are we seeing the scene through the eyes of the heroine? Are we seeing the scene through the eyes of the hero? Are we getting an insight to the villain's inner workings? Or, as sometimes happens, through the sharp eyes of a best friend, close relative, etc. Or, as done so often in classic novels of the past, is the Author acting as Narrator, giving us his/her Point of View? 

For a link to what I consider the finest modern bit of Author Point of View—a previously posted excerpt from Nora Roberts's Carnal Innocence— click here.

* * *


Way, way back in Ages Dark (in the 1980s when the Romance market was pretty much only Harlequin/Silhouette), the rules at H/S stated there could be only one Point of View per scene. (Actually, as I think back to my early days writing Romance in the mid-90s, I believe it was only one Point of View per chapter.) Because H/S was there first, catering to readers who liked  their romance "easy to read," their rules flowed out, coloring what was expected by Romance editors, even in publishing houses catering to a majority of readers who preferred their "reads" more challenging. (And who presumably had read the classics with Author POV and shifts of POV within chapters, and even within scenes, and not found themselves hopelessly confused.)

Which brings up another rule of the time (probably also from H/S, although I can't say for sure). NO Author Point of View. Each scene had to be written from inside the head of the Hero, Heroine, or possibly - at a stretch - the Villain. And that was it. No exceptions. 

As a person who judged contests for a variety of RWA chapters, I wish I had a dollar for all the times I pointed out a violation of this absolute rule. Sigh. And somewhere - buried among all my Mosaic Moments blog posts - I have a post that reads in huge capital letters: DO NOT HEAD HOP! (Well, truthfully, head-hopping can be confusing, so if you're switching POVs in a scene, you have to be careful, but more on that later.)

What is head-hopping?

Head-hopping, to some, means any violation of the old H/S rule. But nowadays it's more likely to refer to changing the POV too many times within a scene. I.e., two paragraphs from the Hero's POV, one from the Heroine, back to Hero for his opinion of some dialogue, back to the Heroine's reaction to what he said . . . and oops! You begin to understand why H/S made that old rule for their authors.

So where's the porridge that's "just right"?

This depends entirely on the skill of the author. If you can handle multiple POVs from the git-go, then go for it. I still consider my first two books, The Sometime Bride and Tarleton's Wife my best work, partially because I wrote them before I ever heard about any "Rules of Romance." [I changed POVs. I had multiple POVs, not just the Hero and Heroine. I had the Hero and Heroine separated for great lengths of time. I included the serious topic of the Peninsular War and touched on Women's Rights, topics that were avoided at the time. The Sometime Bride ran to 140,000 words, etc., etc.]

But if you're tentative about your beginner's skill, there's nothing wrong with a strict one-scene-for-the-heroine, one-scene-for-the-hero style—as long as you keep the story moving forward, not standing at a dead halt while the same subject matter is rehashed from a different POV!. But you should also be aware that there's nothing wrong with switching POVs in a scene, as long as you make it clear in the very first line of the first paragraph of the switch which character is now doing the thinking. 

Here's a story that may clarify the dangers of "one POV per chapter":

 Back when I was just beginning to write Romance, I tried to read a wide variety of Romance novels. One so horrified me I bought it up at a POV workshop at my very first RWA conference. The author had written an entire chapter in the viewpoint of the Heroine. And then, in Chapter 2, proceeded to show the entire same scene from the viewpoint of the Hero! The story did not move forward. Nothing was new. As I recall, I did not go on to Chapter 3. And yes, the workshop presenter - RWA '95 or '96, as I recall - agreed that was a bit extreme, even for those times. So I felt a bit better. 

But when I got my first New York contract (Penguin Putnam's Signet), I knuckled under and followed the rules from then on (fortunately, switching POV mid-scene was allowed). The rules became so ingrained that I could ignore them only when writing Gothics, which have only one POV and more recently . . . when I sat down to write The Lady Takes a Risk, I said to myself, "I'm going to wipe out all the POV rules I've learned and make an effort to write the way I did in The Sometime Bride and Tarleton's Wife (albeit with the humor of my Trad Regencies). And I was so pleased by the result, I intend to continue that approach with any other third-person book I write.

Recommended Approach to Point of View:

Stick to the number of POVs you're comfortable with. Just be aware that readers need to know who's thinking what. If you can make it easy for them to be aware of a switch of POV, then having two POVs in a scene should not be a problem. I don't even frown at getting off a one-liner in another character's point of view if it adds to the story and there's no doubt about who is thinking that particular thought. (You can best get away with one-liners in the final sentence of a scene or chapter.)

In general, if you're going to switch in the middle of a scene, stay in the new POV for the rest of the scene. Yes, you can switch back if you feel it's absolutely necessary, but you have to make it very clear you've made the switch - right there in the first sentence of the new POV. 

And yes, Author POV can sneak in there occasionally. I particularly use it when covering a passage of time; sometimes, when introducing a new character. Keep in mind, however, that Author Point of View distances readers from the main characters who have the primary POVs. It's their story, and as much as possible, they should be the ones telling it. (Yes, authors, I know it's your story, but readers want to get inside the main characters' heads, see what they see, hear what they hear, feel what they feel. And since "thinking" and "feeling" can only be revealed by that character, let them have their moments of revelation. DO NOT stand back and narrate your story like a storyteller of old. Do not "tell" us what they're thinking. Let them tell us. Go with the Heroine's Point of View and the Hero's Point of View. Let us shiver with the Villain's Point of View. And if you feel a secondary character's POV will add to the story, by all means, use it. (Just don't let that secondary character detract from the primary focus on the Hero and Heroine.)

So I guess you could say I'm somewhere in the middle of the POV controversy. Romance, by the very nature of its subject, is more personal. It needs direct Point of View from the Hero and Heroine so we know what they're thinking. On that, Harlequin/Silhouette were totally correct. Even in all its sub-genres of Mystery, Suspense, Paranormal, SciFi, Young Adult, etc., Romance needs to keep the personal touch. (As opposed to some major opuses which seem to be written entirely in Author POV, with only occasional mention of how the main characters feel about what is going on.)

Now that I've thoroughly confused you . . .

Romance authors - it boils down to not being afraid to switch POVs within a scene. (Unless you have an editor who is still old-school enough to expressly forbid it.) Strict POV rules are from long ago and far, far away. Write what you feel, although you must be careful to make any switch immediately apparent. And give proper attribution to a one-liner in a new POV. It's your book. You have a right to say what you want to say without worrying about so-called "rules" that are decades out of date.

It was a 20-year battle to get entrenched authors and editors to replace the 19th c. font, Courier, and the 250-lines-per-page manuscript format for the "book look" of Times New Roman proportional type. And the "rules" on Point of View have been just as foolishly perpetuated. Time to join the modern world, friends. Point of View can be flexible. Not a rigid format with no exceptions.
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Thanks for stopping by,

Grace