Sunday, June 26, 2011


As my faithful few know, I have been doing the re-write on The Last Captain. I had some great input I have tried to put into practice. I think it's working quite nicely.

I had a ton of POV characters in the draft I sent off to Baen. In my hubris, I thought I had given each of these POV characters a significant voice all their own, all within sections as short as five hundred or less words. The sections followed one another at a very rapid clip, requiring the reader to switch horses with great frequency.

As it turns out, I am not a virtuoso, just a cat trying to break in.


I am hacking the number of POV characters down to three, and giving each a chapter before moving to the next POV character. I hope to cut down on reader whiplash by doing this, as well as go a little deeper with each character as I do so.

That latter bit was also part of the input I had from my reader, who wanted to feel more of the internal strife between the controlled behavior of the officers and their actual internal emotion and thoughts (See any of my Inner Gorilla posts for what I am talking about.).

All this requires some new material, but not as much as I had feared, given that I know where everyone stands, and what is going on. Now to convey that in a more efficient and, hopefully, visceral manner.

Plenty of time to learn to be that virtuoso.

And to practice I go.


  1. I know you're going to think I"m high for suggesting this (and I'm not, well - maybe a little caffeine-shaky), but if you'd like to see a really unique solution to the POV problem, there's a terrific YA novel by Wendy Mass called Leap Day that you should take a few minutes in your next library/book store trip to check out. It will only take 3 chapters before you realize how unique and deft it is. I won't tell you more than that, so that I don't ruin the surprise.

  2. Is it at all like Minster Faust's Coyote Kings of The Space Age Bachelor Pad? That fella has POV shifts down cold.

    I think I know what I am doing, now. Of course, the proof will be in the pubbing.

  3. No, it only has first-person for the main character and there are no character sheets : )

    Mass alternates chapters, telling the scene first from the viewpoint of the main character (in first person) - then the following chapter is told in third person omniscient, but it's the exact same scene, just following the other person's motivations and choices for why they do what they do, so you can really see how shortsighted one person's truth can be.