Hi guys, it’s Friday! FINALLY. It was such a long week, and having an awful cold didn’t help at all. Today I am very thrilled to be a part of S.D. Robertson’s blog tour for his new release “If Ever I Fall” and to share a guest post from the author on writing from different point of views. Enjoy, and have a great weekend, you lovely folks!
Writing from different points of view
by S.D. Robertson
I write from different points of view in my latest novel, If Ever I Fall. There are three distinct sections running through the book and each has its own voice.
First there’s Jack, who wakes up on a deserted clifftop with no memory of who he is or how he got there.
Next we have Maria, who is drowning in grief. She spends her time writing letters that will never be answered, while fighting to escape the pain of terrible memories.
And then there’s Dan, whose life has fallen apart at the seams. He’s lost his house, his job is on the line and now he fears losing his family too.
Taking on different voices was a new experience for me, since my first novel, Time to Say Goodbye, was written from just one perspective. Initially, it felt a bit daunting: particularly writing as a woman, which wasn’t something I’d ever attempted before.
So how did I approach it? Well, the first thing I did was to frame each of the voices differently. So the Maria sections are all written through the medium of personal letters, giving them a very confessional feel. Meanwhile, the Dan sections are written in third person past tense, while the Jack sections are first person present tense.
Doing this really helped me to keep on top of which character I was channelling at each stage of writing the book. I think it also helps readers in the same way.
Other than that, I suppose it was a bit like being an actor and trying to get under the skin of each of them, imagining what they, rather than me, would say and do in each particular situation. It’s not actually as tricky as it sounds, because as an author there’s a part of you – sometimes big, sometimes small – in every character you create. So it’s really just a case of tuning into that and building it up from there.
Before I wrote a word of the manuscript, I created character profiles for everyone in the story; those of Jack, Maria and Dan were particularly detailed. I referred back to them constantly at the start, adding bits and pieces along the way, but as the book progressed and each of them took firm shape in my mind, this became less necessary.
It’s like when you have family or friends that you’ve known for a long time. You know their mannerisms and habits. You have a good idea of what they love and what they hate. You get so you can predict fairly accurately how they will react in different scenarios. You know the sort of thing they are likely to say.
There were, of course, moments when I wasn’t sure about certain things, particularly when it came to writing from a woman’s perspective as Maria. It was at these times that I turned to my female family members and friends for advice.
That’s how it works when you write fiction. Your own experience is enough for certain things, and for others you do research, preferably by speaking to those with first-hand knowledge of whatever it is you need to know.
I must say that I really enjoyed writing from more than one perspective in If Ever I Fall. I think it’s a great tool to use as an author, which allows you to take your readers deeper into the world you’ve created. It’s certainly a technique I intend to employ again in future novels.
*Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his job as a local newspaper editor to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming an author and to spend more time with his wife and daughter. If Ever I Fall (Avon HarperCollins, £7.99) is his second novel. A heart-rending story of family tragedy, it is published on 9 February 2017.
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