Calling Myself a Writer

I abandoned this blog for quite some time. I am a mother of two school-aged children, a wife, a high school teacher, and a woman on a journey of growth.

Amidst the many areas which demand my time, I spent any free minute I could find to finish my first historical romance – Capturing a Countess’ Heart.

Then I spent countless hours editing it and learning SO MUCH in the process…about historical romance…about writing…about myself.

My diligence was rewarded with a seven month period of working with an editor from Harlequin Historical. And, while Harlequin decided not to publish my work, it was the best learning experience I had.

I diverted from writing for a brief time while I pursued another goal of becoming a certified yoga instructor. And, I’m ecstatic to report that in two short months I will be a teacher of yoga (another passion of mine). It was precisely my yoga teacher training which led me to the crystal clear understanding that I cannot give up on my goal of publishing my work.

There are many walls in my way…I’m too old, I don’t have the social media presence, I know nothing about marketing, much less formatting a manuscript into a readable digital or paper copy book!

These are nothing but lies.

Part of my learning is being unapologetic about using my time for writing. For publishing. For becoming part of an on-line community in which I can interact with like-minded lovers of Historical Romance, readers and writers and bloggers!

But all of this requires just one thing in order for it to be accomplished. I need to call myself a writer.

So, here I am. Caryn Emme. Mother, wife, teacher, yogi, WRITER.

Let the publishing journey begin!

Avoiding Head Hopping – #Writing #Editing

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I thrive on knowing my characters deeply so I can better shape their story. Except, I end up writing the thoughts and reactions of almost all of my characters – simultaneously.

This is a big NO, NO and is referred to as head hopping.

Head hopping is when the narrative doesn’t remain within one character’s POV – but the scene moves from the perspective of all of the characters involved. Sometimes, in the midst of editing hell, I throw my arms up and think, isn’t that what the benefits of an omniscient narrator are?

Part of me becomes quite perplexed because I’ve read more than my fair share of romances where we get information from both of the romantic leads within the same scene – and I think, why does every piece of advice to writers out there include a finger wag at head hopping, meanwhile these very successful romance writers do it consistently throughout their novels?!? Frustrating, right?

I guess the saying that you have to know the rules before you can break the rules holds fast on this one.

As I write instalment two of my series and as I edit (again!) instalment one, these are some of the rules I’ve developed for myself to prevent the proverbial head hop:

  1. At the beginning of each chapter I must decide who will be the focus: hero or heroine. If heroine, I stick to writing only her thoughts and feelings.
  2. I make sure to note the hero’s reactions/feelings through the heroine’s eyes (and vice versa when the hero is the focus of a chapter)
  3. Rule #1 has meant cutting out entire portions of a chapter and refitting it into a later chapter where the POV changes to the other protagonist – or, sometimes, saying goodbye altogether to favourite pieces of prose regardless of the pain in my heart.
  4. Any interaction with a minor character must be experienced through the protagonist
  5. The feelings, changes in tone or body language of the minor characters must be perceived by the protagonist and the opinions of the minor character must be explicitly stated in dialogue.
  6. An omniscient narrator means access to every character’s thoughts & feelings, and brings those to light at the right time, not all at the same time.

So far, keeping these rules in mind has helped me to remain focused and each chapter has improved tremendously. Each chapter is stronger, feels tighter and I feel that the narrative voice confidently takes the reader through the story.

It’s worth looking at the amount of head hopping in your own writing and asking yourself if it is serving the story.

What techniques do you use to keep your POV focused?

Caryn Emme Sign Off

 

 

 

 

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