With almost four million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the best-selling author of The Tale of Three Trees, Don’t Bet Against Me, with Deanna Favre, The Note, and The Nativity Story. Her latest release is THE FINE ART OF INSINCERITY, coming May 1 from Howard.
She and her husband make their home in Florida with mastiffs. In 2001, one of her dogs was featured on Live with Regis and Kelly as the second-largest dog in America. Visit Angie on her website and her blog, A Life in Pages.
Point of View
POV—point of view—is the topic most beginning writers want to discuss–or debate. I’m not sure why it trips up so many folks because once you get the principle imbedded in your brain, it’s so . . . logical.
“Why do I have to limit my POV?” beginners ask. “John Grisham doesn’t always. Nora Roberts doesn’t always.”
Well, when you have the track record of Grisham and Roberts, you can do whatever you like. I, for one, love the rules about POV because I’ve realized the power of that device. It’s a really useful tool when you know how to use it.
Illustration: You have probably seen the movie Gone with the Wind. You may have read the book. If you’ve only seen the movie, you’ve missed out on the best part of the GWTW experience because books have one tremendous advantage over movies–if POV is used correctly, they can put and keep you in the mind of a character, but movies are generally omniscient because the camera sees everything.
In the movie, Rhett Butler is constantly saying, “I love ya, Scarlett.” He says that in the book, too, but every time he does, Scarlett immediately attributes his words to 1) lust 2) booze or 3) manipulation. She never believes him, not for a second. And in the book, we are never in Rhett’s mind, so we’re not really sure what he’s thinking.
At the end of the book, after Melanie dies, Scarlett has her epiphany: by golly, Rhett really does love her! She remembers all the things he’s done–staying with her while Atlanta burned, coming to rescue her again and agin, spoiling her rotten–and she realizes “no man does those things for a woman unless he loves her to distraction!” (Yes, I have portions of the book memorized. Don’t get me started.)
And suddenly, we, the reader, realize the Truth along with Scarlett. And we run home with her, only to find that “even the most deathless love can wear out.”
These same scenes are in the movie, but they’re not nearly as powerful. Why? Because the movie viewer is experiencing the omniscient view, we see all, hear all, and we have limited access to Scarlett’s thoughts. So when Rhett says, “I love ya, Scarlett,” well, we believe him. And the tension between reality and Scarlett’s belief is lost.
I’ve used POV to keep readers from a character’s secrets, make a crazy woman’s delusions seem logical, and make an intelligent woman’s stupid decision seem . . . intelligent (VBG). You can, too, once you realize the power of POV.
Angela Hunt lives and delves into other people’s heads from her office in Florida. Read more about her books at www.angelahuntbooks.com.
The Fine Art of Insincerity
Three Southern sisters with nine marriages between them–and more looming on the horizon—travel to St. Simons Island to empty their late grandmother’s house. Ginger, the eldest, wonders if she’s the only one who hasn’t inherited what their family calls “the Grandma Gene”—the tendency to enjoy the casualness of courtship more than the intimacy of marriage. Could it be that her sisters are fated to serially marry, just like their seven-times wed grandmother, Lillian Irene Harper Winslow Goldstein Carey James Bobrinski Gordon George?
It takes a “girls only” weekend, closing up Grandma’s memory-filled beach cottage for the last time, for the sisters to unpack their family baggage, examine their relationship DNA, and discover the true legacy their much-marrying grandmother left behind.