Wednesday 2 October 2013

Mara Valderran on POV

For the Heirs of War Blog Tour here is Mara Valderran, author of Heirs of War, on writing POV. I think I love her just for her Doctor Who reference...well more than just her DW reference...but it laid the ground work.

Seventeen-year-old Zelene doesn't believe in magic or prophecies. When she's told she is part of the prophecy foretelling five powerful girls bringing peace to the war-torn worlds, she scoffs. The idea of other dimensions layered on top of the world she lives in is almost as ludicrous as the idea that she might be able to save them. After she is attacked by magic-wielding assassins, she finds she can't argue with reality.

As their enemies strike, the girls are taken back to their world and discover the ties binding them together. Rhaya has always had an uncanny knack for reading people, but can’t seem to unravel the mystery tying her to Isauria, the new friend she bonded with instantly. For years, Isauria has been dreaming of Terrena, a girl living her life on the run in a magical world ripped apart by the tragedies of war, completely unaware that she is psychically linked to the world she was born in.

Zelene views them all with a distrustful eye, familial bonds or no, and can think of a place or two she’d like to shove the crown she supposedly inherited. When she learns that her long-lost twin Ariana has been captured by the rebels, Zelene’s attitude changes. She doesn’t know how she is supposed to go against an army of magic-wielding rebels when her own ability to manipulate the elements is still locked within her. But can she trust the elders to rescue Ariana when it seems their medieval politics are what brought about the war in the first place? With all that is at stake, the answer becomes clear to Zelene.

Screw the worlds. She’s getting her sister back

Mara ValderranMara Valderran has been coming up with stories pretty almost since she could talk, often commandeering her brother's G.I. Joes to play out her fictional tales alongside her Barbies. Once she hit adolescence and realized playing with dolls wasn't cool anymore, she started putting her ideas to paper. And she hasn’t stopped since.

Mara has worn many different artistic hats throughout her life. She has dabbled in screenwriting, plucked guitars and basses, toyed with singing, retired from acting, and drawn some pretty mean stick figures in her time. However, writing books seems to fit her best as she finds nothing more fulfilling than creating worlds and characters she can lose herself in.

Mara lives in the south with her husband and demanding cat. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or spending time at her favorite local coffee shop.


First Person vs Third Person

When I first started out on this journey with Heirs of War, I knew I had to write it from third person POV. Why? Because third person is so much better, of course.

Or so I thought. Sure, writing third person can open the story up a whole, whole lot. I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed The Hunger Games a lot more if Suzanne Collins had let us see what was going on in the Capitol here and there. But it was still a great series. On the flipside, I think I might have enjoyed The Mortal Instruments more if the story had been told strictly from inside of Clary’s head in her voice.

The point? The grass is always greener on the other side. So how does a writer figure out which POV a story should be told from?

Caption: You are the weakest POV. Goodbye.

No, not like that. Okay, sometimes a little like that.

Seriously, though. Sometimes it is all about the story and how you see it in your head. Other times it might be whose voice is the strongest out of all your characters, or how much is going on with each character. With Heirs of War, there was really no way to tell the story I see through just one character’s eyes. With the exception of maybe Isauria thanks to her gift, but it would still fall a bit flat I think, and that’s mainly because of her voice. Isauria’s voice isn’t as strong as Zelene’s. At times I felt like I could write the story from just Zelene’s POV since she’s so much louder than everyone else, but ultimately it isn’t just her story to tell.

When I first started writing it, I really didn’t like first person POVs, either. I felt like they were too limiting and boring. But then I started writing one and I discovered that it’s actually quite freeing. I really don’t think one is better than the other. If you truly enjoy a story, you want to see more of it and more of the characters you loved. So I don’t think it’s unnatural to think a book might be better from third person for that reason. It just means you want more. And I don’t think any author can complain if readers are wanting more.

What are you favorite POVs to read? Do you prefer first or third, and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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