Diving Deep into Point of View by Jackie Layton
When I began to write cozy mysteries, I changed from writing in third person point of view to first person. There was a definite learning curve, and for a long time I only read books written in first person to help me get the feel for it.
The change to first person point of view (POV) required a mind shift on my part. I soon discovered the change takes the reader deeper into the story.
If you’ve ever considered writing in first person POV, here are a few things I learned.
Avoid thinking verbs to plunge into deep POV. Believe, decide, consider, see, forget, guess, imagine, know, notice and remember are a few examples of words that take a reader out of the story.
Instead of writing, “I believed Susan was lying.”
Try, “Susan’s gaze dropped to the floor, and she twisted the ring around her finger.”
Make the most of showing the story. Instead of telling the reader the moon is shining, show it to them. Bite the Dust is set on the fictional island of Heyward Beach, South Carolina. If your character is inland, the moonlight might filter through the Spanish moss covering the ancient oak trees.
Many times, my character is on the beach, and I adjust to the setting. “The moon beams danced on the incoming waves and sparkled like diamonds in the night.”
A writer also wants to avoid passive voice. For example:
“She twisted her ankle while running on the beach.”
To make this active, try:
“My eyes were on a seagull flying overhead. I stumbled into a hole, and pain seared up my leg. Somebody hadn’t read the signs telling visitors to fill the holes left from building sand castles, and my poor ankle was paying the price.”
When writing in deep POV, you’re writing as your character. Andi Grace Scott is the main character in A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series, and I needed to learn her voice. Andi Grace is a southern girl who loves God and loves her family. She’s a caretaker. She’s a fighter who sticks up for the underdog and fights for justice. She’s a big sister which makes her kinda bossy. (I’m a big sister and can identify with this trait.)
While Andi Grace may be used to telling her siblings what to do, there’s a lot she doesn’t know. I hope this makes her more likeable in her search for a killer and in her everyday life. I hope my readers love Andi Grace as much as I do.
Do you write in first person POV? Have you ever considered it? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts or concerns.
Debra, thanks for hosting me today. I’ve enjoyed spending time with y’all.
Bite the Dust is the first book in A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series.
Back Cover Copy:
Secrets can be deadly.
One steamy South Carolina morning, Low Country dog walker Andi Grace Scott discovers a client’s dead body. Police quickly decide she’s the prime suspect. Horrified, she knows she’ll have to turn detective if she’s going to convince them they’re barking up the wrong tree.
Proving her innocence could be a tall order. The local police never solved the hit-and-run that killed her parents; Andi Grace isn’t sure they’ll solve this crime either…not when they have a convenient suspect—one caught with the possible murder weapon in her hand. She’ll have to follow every clue and call in every favor, even if that puts her in danger.
If you love strong heroines, coastal small-town life, and dogs, you’ll love Bite the Dust.
Jackie Layton spent her adult life raising her sons, loving her family, and working as a pharmacist. She’s always been a reader and often dreamed of writing. Before becoming an empty nester, she began to study the craft of writing. A move to Pawleys Island, South Carolina gave her time to focus on writing while working part-time in a local pharmacy. Dawn Dowdle is her amazing agent. BelleBooks offered Jackie a contract for a three-book cozy mystery series. Bite the Dust is the first book in A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery series. Dog-gone Dead is the second book, and Bag of Bones is the third. All are set on the coast of South Carolina.
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