Jordanna Fraiberg on Writing from Two POVs
Posted October 30, 2008on:
I’m so honored to be the author of the month for Harmony’s amazing site. My book has been out for exactly two whole weeks. Everyone says the release of a book, especially your first one when you’re still an unknown author like me, can be really anti-climactic. I would have to disagree, and tell you that it’s been anything but. There’s nothing like the feeling of having a piece of you out in the world, or hearing that this story I poured myself into has entertained or touched some readers out there. The release of this book has also introduced me to the wonderful world of YA book bloggers and book lovers — a truly remarkable and passionate group of people that I only wish existed when I was a teen. But unfortunately that was another era, before the internet.
And how awesome is the internet? I know it gets some bad press because of its potential dangers, but I think that most users are pretty savvy and the benefits far outweigh the pitfalls. I mean the internet is the basis of my whole book, and the point of that was to show how people can connect more easily sometimes when the normal social pressures are removed, and people can get right down to communication, the good-old fashioned kind, only in a wholly modern and contemporary context.
Now, on to the business of why I wrote this book from two points of view. I knew right away, from the concept, that it was important to tell both sides of the story, that one would not be complete without the other. All Molly and Charlie have to go on in getting to know each other are the words exchanged between them, and whatever else they can garner from living in each other’s bedrooms. As a result, I wanted to write all the good stuff that happens in between, like their thoughts and feelings, and to track that progression from each of their perspectives. Not only does that help ratchet up the tension between them, but it felt like the best way to get into their heads.
Why didn’t I write it from 1st person POV if I really wanted to get into their heads, you might ask? The most immediate reason is that their voices came to me in 3rd person. It felt like the most natural way to tell their stories equally, while maintaining some distance. It was a little challenging making sure I differentiated their voices and characters enough in the first draft, but the better I got to know them, the easier it became.
Also, I wanted to tell their love story both through the narrative, and directly through the emails and IMs exchanged between them. My goal was for the love story to be evident from those exchanges alone, and for the rest of the story to enhance and build on these exchanges. As a result, it made most sense for their voices to really emerge in 1st person in the IMs and emails, where they could really express themselves in their own words, as opposed to the narrator’s (er…mine).
My next book will be told from just one POV, even though it’s also a love story, but the premise lends itself better to this format. It’s not something I thought through all that much until after I found the character’s voice, to make sure I was making the right decision. I think that it basically always comes down to instinct, to listening to the voice that is compelling you to write the story, and to follow it.
Happy reading and writing!
A reminder to all readers – don’t forget to enter the In Your Room contest! It ends in a just a few days!