Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day Three- Another name bites the dust and the POV was shot

So, I can't very well have a character named Seth and a character named Sidra, and why did no one point this out? If you say their names together, you run into the lisping issue that keeps killing my favorite name "Seth." Crap! This required a find and replace and a new name. Seth wasn't quite catching me anyway. His new name is Asher and that seemed to work with the whole theme of "Fire" but there was a new problem. His last name was Taylor. While all of this occurs in real life, it doesn't occur in fiction--dang it! We will make sure last names aren't stupid when said with first names. So, he got a full-on name change on Day Three. (Is this giving someone flashbacks? Sadly, I can only remember your name as Chris... which it isn't... anymore.)

So, Asher Terry was born. Phew. Name handled.

Point of View-- le sigh. So, I've been using first person and while I think that's good, Sidra's POV isn't enough. Is it weird to throw in the occasional first person chapter from Asher's perspective? (Like every third chapter or something) The other option is to switch the whole thing to third person and just head hop. Any ideas?

Then, there is the tense issue. Verb tense that is. Sidra likes to space off and stare at fires and have internal monologues about fire--which I'm allowing--for now. Her soliloquies to fires are in the present tense and have an extra space before and after. I'm trying to decide if that's too weird and jarring. I know it's hard for me to switch back and forth between tenses.

It's too complicated to explain what I mean in the generic, so here is an excerpt from the first of the book (Sidra's) and a little later (like chapter four) for Asher's--let me know what you think on the tense thing and the POV thing:

I paint almost entirely in reds and oranges. I like to paint fire—and things on fire. This bothers some of those people at school. My mom understands, so I do most of my painting at home. My friends call me “Scorch” because of it. It started in Junior High, and I haven’t been able to drop the name. I guess it’s better than my given name, Sidra. It means “stars” in Latin and my mom gets way too into Latin for it being a dead language in my opinion.

Sometimes when I’m in front of my easel, painting fire, like I am right now, my mind just runs and runs. There are no child support checks and a father living in Mississippi with the super whore, Bliss. There are no awkward moments when I walk into a class and search for the least unappealing seat. There is just me—and reds—and oranges—and fire.

“Sids, come down and grab some breakfast. You’re going to be late for school, Honey!” my mother yelled, breaking my mind’s sprint.

I wiped the paint off my hands with a cloth to the side of my easel. This room used to be my father’s office before he ran off with Bliss, the super whore. Now, it’s an empty room with a concrete floor. It was easier to tear out the carpet than deal with the glass and shards of my dad’s computer—and whatever had been spilled all over the remnants. The room’s demise had been my gain. It had the perfect light exposure and I didn’t have to worry about spilling paint on the floor. It had been the first decent thing my dad had done—leaving behind so much anger that we’d destroyed his edifice—his ode to work.

So, that's Sidra's POV, but here is an excerpt from Asher's:

She was sort of psychotic. She’d spaced out again while watching the fire. This Sidra chick had a serious pyro-mania going on. Still, I was almost positive she wasn’t the one I’m looking for. It wouldn’t be the first time one of the pyro-demons had masqueraded in human form, but they usually didn’t settle for cute female forms with nice copper-colored eyes. Plus, she wasn’t keeping a low profile, and she wasn’t new. That jock on the front row had made it sound like she’d lit plenty on fire over the years. Trace had decided that this was a new spot—possibly even a new demon—or several demons. Considering the amount of fires, I was guessing we had a pack of demons on our hands. It was rare for to them gather like this, though.

Vegas was getting nailed with fires right now. No one suspected arson, but a demon wouldn’t leave traces around like that to get them tagged as arson. That was part of what led Trace and me here. Another city. Another load of fires. A bunch of fire demons.

Nothing should be special about this place, but Sidra was changing that. She was pretty amazing.

Brand liked Sidra too. Brand didn’t like just anyone. He was the pickiest mutt. Brand wouldn’t like her if she was a fire demon. She had to be just a cute pyro in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Still, I had things to do—things that shouldn’t include tailing a hot pyromaniac. Okay, the word “tail” shouldn’t make me smile, but damn Sidra was hot. I couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with the guys at this school. At any other school I’d been in, Sidra would have been the one with the quarterback—not the one being pelted with paper missiles. What was up with that idiot?

The teacher noticed Sidra’s expression and turned the burner off again. I tried to give this Ms. Lyons a smile to relieve that terrified look in her eyes, but Scorch here—wasn’t helping. It was probably just as well we’d be next to the fire extinguisher.


  1. I think it would work if you had a good reason, ie, Asher (great name, btw) is remembering the story, but Sidra is experiencing the story.

  2. I like both POV's and that the are both written in first person. I think it makes the story more interesting to have it told from two sides. Good luck with whatever you decide!

  3. Thanks for weighing in, Amber and L.T.

    I've done the back and forth before, but this time I'm planning on doing it unevenly. Plus, first person multiple narrators doesn't seem to happen as much in a YA book, but maybe I just haven't read enough of them.

  4. I think that's fine, but maybe italicizing the internal monologue sections would make them stand out more? Especially if they are sandwiched between regular narrative...

  5. Oh... good idea, Julie. I underuse italics, I think.

  6. I think you're worrying too much about finer points. Just relax, write, let the words come now and fix it later.

    Go ahead and mix your tenses. Intermingle your first person and third person. (Jodi Picoult does this all the time.)

    All of this can be changed in revisions. Right now, just write whatever feels right.

    Good luck!

  7. The husband had a bit of a laugh at Kat's remarks--but it was definitely at my expense, because she clearly hasn't been around long enough for my even/odd number crisis posts to really drive home my OCD issues. I suffer from an inability to not worry, Kat. Luckily, I write fast so I have plenty of time left over to obsess. Yay for silver linings and bright sides! I also can't write without rewriting. The voices in my head demand it, and I'm just a pawn to their evil whims.

    Still, I'm on about 15,000 words on Day Three. I'll probably finish the book by mid-November, set it aside for a week, and go through a thorough rewrite before I send it out to whichever Betas feel like reading. It might make it to hardcopy format for my crazed teenage fan and a few of my friends to pass around. If I still like it next year after I've got back all the marked-up copies, I'll revise it another few times. Usually I have to be pressured into sending things out to shop, so the perfection is for myself.

    Anyway, that's my process. It's probably different from most writers because it's fueled by insomnia and obsession. I write around four hours during the day, and then another four hours at night or more in order to sleep. I've been having intense nightmares so the shine is off sleeping right now. Besides, I'm excited about my characters. I don't really know how it ends, so I just keep writing to find out. Wahoo. Along with casualties, yesterday added two more significant plot sidelines and firmed up my antagonists.

  8. I like books that use multiple perspectives because you often pick up a whole new dimension on a character by seeing them through someone else's eyes. It can be a powerful character-building exercise!

  9. Both POVs work because each has a unique voice. And I agree you should just write and worry about the details later.


    I mean, Chris.

    I mean, Julio...er, George.

    No. Dwayne.

    (all of which comes with a story.)

  10. So, when do you sleep? Or more omportantly, how do you function through the day when you don't sleep?

    The book is sounding good. I'll be interested to see how it turns out.

  11. Hey Wendy! Thanks for the visit and follow. Do you have following disabled?

    Anyway...Have you thought about both? You're writing in first person anyway. What about switching from chapter to chapter using Asher then Sidra.

    It could make for an interesting way to tell your story.

    But I've been stuck on things like this before too. Just write and the characters will tell you what to do.

    I'm not doing Nano this year. Too many doctor/hospital visits for my son.

    Good luck and it is so nice to meet you. *grin*

    Your new pal,


    Get some sleep! :)

    Oh and I love your blog!!

  12. I don't think there's any problem switching POV in first person. I enjoyed the excerpts. I wouldn't change the POV.

  13. I agree w/ the others that multiple POV tenses can work (and do in the excerpts you showed).

  14. Matt, you've just succeeded in establishing that I will never remember your real name. You'd think I would. I have a brother-in-law named Matt. Unfortunately, I have a best friend's husband named Chris. One of my favorite character's is named Julio. Dwayne is a middle name in my family... and the first thing you did was tell me a Seinfeld story about George Costanza. You're killing me here, Matt. It's your own fault when I call you Chris. Neeners. (Wendy sticks out her tongue.)

    Jade, I've had insomnia my entire life--even as a child. So, getting more than six hours of sleep is strange for me. It's only the days I get less than three hours that I really can't function.

    Robyn, for a moment I thought you were asking me if I was following-disabled. (See this is why sleep can be important.) It shouldn't be disabled. I like that you understand me: "Just write and the characters will tell you what to do." LOL. Yes! Exactly.

    Candice, thank you.

    Hey Bane! Thanks.

  15. Stephanie-- I agree entirely. Last night I was actually reading Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyers which is the Twilight story told from Edward's perspective. It's so much better than Twilight, and I wish she'd managed to incorporate the two together somehow--or finish Midnight Sun and sell it. His viewpoint makes everything make sense. It doesn't hurt that Midnight Sun was like her fourth book either so her writing had improved, in my opinion. Anyway, I was reading it for a different reason, but reading your comment today really drove it home. Thank you.