Monday, June 25, 2012

Deep POV: Lesson Four by Karen Witemeyer

We've been enjoying a great series here this month with award-winning author, Karen Witemeyer on deep POV. Here's her final installment this Mixing-it-up-Monday. Enjoy!

Deepen POV by Creating Fresh Comparisons

One of my favorite ways to deepen POV is to create fresh comparisons that are unique to my POV character's personality and background. 

If your hero is a western cowboy, the comparisons that mean something to him will be far different from those of a British nobleman. Similes, metaphors, analogies—all can be given a fresh spin that enhance your character's voice.

This is another aspect of craft that keeps you from getting lazy. Clichés are nearly always the first comparisons to come to mind when we write. Don't accept that easy road. Work to make your analogies unique to your POV character. In doing so, you will deepen the POV and create memorable moments for your reader.

Example:

In my latest release, Short-Straw Bride, there is a scene where my rancher hero is admiring the heroine's determination and gumption. Instead of having him observe that determination "stuck to her like glue" (cliché), he instead observed that determination "clung to her like a grass burr to a pant leg."

In my current work in progress, I have three POV characters: the hero, the heroine, and the heroine's father. In one scene, the heroine is racing on horseback to reach her father who is out with the cattle. We are in the father's POV, and as he notes her racing in, he makes a comparison.

Now, as I wrote this scene, the first comparison that came to mind was that she rode as if a pack of wild dogs were on her tail. This, of course, is a cliché. I searched and searched for a better simile. I came up blank. Finally, I dug deeper into who my POV character was. He is an ex-outlaw who's eluded the law for two decades. He's gone straight, but that outlaw blood still runs through his veins. 

As I pondered this character trait, the perfect comparison finally came to mind.

He twisted his neck to the side to work out a kink, and caught sight of his daughter riding down upon them as if a hangin' posse were in pursuit.

Not only does this analogy capture the POV character's personality, but it deepens the POV because that isn't something I as the author would say in narration. But it is exactly what an ex-outlaw would use as a descriptor were he relating the story.

You can practice this on your own. Take a clichéd comparison and rework it with your own character in mind. Here are some to choose from:

Light as a feather
Strong as an ox
Melted like butter
Stubborn as a mule

~~~~~ 

Short-Straw Bride released June 1, 2012.

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?

~~~~~

Two-time RITA® Finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion, CBA bestselling author, Karen Witemeyer, writes historical romance fiction for Bethany House, believing that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for such a great series, Karen! Extremely informative and practical, I've already found several ways to apply these very basic steps into my current WIP. It's also very useful and encouraging to see inside your own writing process, and how apply your own advice -- and oooh, what a tantalizing glimpse into Crockett's upcoming story!!! Can't wait to read it! :-)

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  2. Thanks, Amy! So glad you found it helpful. And I'm thrilled you recognized Crockett's secret intro. LOL.

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