Who Is Your Hero?

A writing tip from Mark Terry

Or perhaps more appropriately, who is your point-of-view character? I specifically want to refer to short stories and scenes within novels that have multiple points of view. If you’re only writing in first-person or a single third-person POV, this tip might not be for you.

This is about choices.

Who has the most to lose? This isn’t always the best choice in longer genre works. Cops, spies, etc., don’t necessarily have the most to lose. But in the Average Guy/Gal In Trouble novel, yeah, that’s key. And in shorter fiction, unless you’re writing a puzzle-mystery short story, writing from the point of view of the person with the most to lose can be the best choice—the person hiding under the bed as the burglar tears through the house, the woman who walks in on her husband screwing her neighbor, the woman attracted to the mysterious stranger, the kid who gets lost on a hiking trip in the woods.

In the novel with multiple POVs, that can still apply, but a bigger issue is typically: who’s available in that location? The key isn’t to just pick anyone available, but to choose a key figure at each location who would have access to the necessary information the reader needs.

Choose your POV character carefully. If you were a movie director, the question would be, Where do you point your camera?

Maybe it just comes down to this: point your camera at where the action is.

Mark Terry is the author of the Derek Stillwater thrillers The Devil's Pitchfork, The Serpent's Kiss, and The Fallen, as well as several stand-alone thrillers, including Dirty Deeds, Catfish Guru, and Dancing in the Dark. Born in Flint, Michigan in 1964, he graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in microbiology and public health, which has informed his Derek Stillwater thrillers and other fiction.

If you are reading this I am dead . . . So begins the letter Derek Stillwater receives from a former lover. This letter sends him rushing to Moscow to look into the death of his former lover—and to meet the young son he didn't know he had. But Irina Khournikova's colleagues in the FSB, the Russian Intelligence Service, don't appreciate Derek poking around in an active terrorism investigation and make that point very clear to him within hours of arriving in Moscow. But before Derek can start his own investigation, he gets caught in a terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy. And as a favor to the Secretary of State, he agrees to investigate the apparent suicide of a weapons inspector in Siberia. Are they related? Soon Derek finds himself in the cross-hairs of an international assassin and a Russian terrorist organization calling itself The Red Hand. But when The Red Hand kidnaps his son to use as leverage against him, Derek and FSB Agent Konstantin Nikitinov will team up to get him back—and they will stop at nothing. Derek and Konstantin are about to teach the terrorists the real meaning of terror.

Click on the cover to visit the book's Amazon page.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Mark, thank you so much for taking time to share this advice with us!