RSS

Tag Archives: David Bowman

Can Point of View help Character Development?

No matter what genre of fiction your write – mystery, romance, science fiction or if you writer literary fiction – your characters are very important to your story and to your readers. Readers want to get to know your characters so they can connect to them – whether they like or dislike them. If you just skim the surface of your characters they become too superficial and your readers just won’t care about them. They may even stop reading your short story or novel before getting to the end. This does not bode well for the fiction writer.

How can you make your readers connect to and care about your characters?

One way is getting inside their head. The best way I know how to do this is by using another fiction-writing technique – Point of View.

Point of View is often misused, especially if you use more than one POV in your novel. And using more then one POV is not wrong. You just have to remember the cardinal rule. One character’s  POV per scene or per chapter. So stay only in that character’s head during that scene or chapter. Otherwise you are doing what we call in the business – “jumping heads”. Perhaps if you think of lice doing that it will give you some incentive not to jump heads.

How can POV help you see and develop your characters?

Basically,if you are inside that character’s head, you have to think like him or her – not like you would think for yourself. For example, how does he react when things go wrong ? What makes him scared and what does he do because of it? Is he shy? Is he a bully? Is he being bullied?  Reactions include actions, dialogue, inner thoughts and how others react to him? And these will depend on the character. For example if the character is a child, the reactions will be different than an adult. But adults also react differently to situations and that is based on their background, their characteristics – physical (are they short and fat and subject to a lot of derogatory comments about that? Do they cringe, hide inside themselves, stand up for themselves or bully the attacker – maybe punch him in the nose?)

All depends on your character and yes, doing a detailed character outline of your character helps. Just remember like real-life people, characters change and evolve – often because of what goes on in their life. So your character outline is fluid.

How do your characters react to being insulted? Frightened? To trauma?

Let’s look at one of my main characters in Beyond Faith – seven-year-old David Bowman. He was kidnapped in the previous book, Beyond Blood, and is suffering from Post traumatic stress disorder because of it. This affects how he speaks, what he does,what he thinks and what others, especially close family, think of him.

The best way is to use the writing axiom of “show not tell.” So here are a couple of short excerpts from Beyond Faith (published Blue Denim Press, fall 2017). Please note all copyright of all excerpts,  is with me, Sharon A. Crawford, the author.

First, his mother’s inner thoughts about him. The first chapter is from her – PI Dana Bowman’s POV. She is walking up Main Street dreading returning home. Two short excerpts here:

THE WIND WHIPPED my back and the cold rain pelted my face. Hunching further inside my jacket, I pulled the hood tighter. Despite chattering teeth and an oversized purse sliding down my sleeve, I continued plodding forward.

Late November in Thurston Ontario could weave a wicked wind, leaving you out of sorts and gasping for life, a feeling I had experienced a lot lately. Couldn’t seem to put my finger on it. Bast said it was because we would turn 40 the end of next month and to get over it. But that wasn’t it. Just when I seemed to find the proverbial hole, something always kept me from crawling in. But what was really stopping me?………

 

I should be happy. Not only did my son David survive his kidnapping last year, but this July he finally started talking again after months of silence. First he wouldn’t shut up, then he took to following Bast around again like he did when still mute. Since summer disappeared into autumn, when not at school, David was spending more time alone in his room—drawing. I didn’t like what erupted from his crayons—devils, fires with heads sticking out the top, hands wielding axes or guns. Where did he get all these ideas? Had he not healed from the kidnapping? Maybe the aftermath was like grief—going back and forth and all over the place in uneven stages……

What’s happening here? How does this clue the reader in on David’s character? And on his mother’s too? What do these short excerpts tell you about mother and son?

Let’s hear from David now in another scene. A little bit of info first. Partway through Beyond Faith, Dana is attacked from behind, falls to the cement and suffers a concussion. This is part of the scene a few hours later in the hospital from David’s POV.

“Uncle Bast, can we go see Mommy so the detective can find out who hurt her?”…..

Bast turned to the doctor. “Very well, if you don’t have any objection, Doctor? I would like to see my sister, too.”

Dr. Richards scratched his cheek. “She is sleeping now. She should get more rest, no excitement.”….The doctor shrugged his shoulders. “Fine. But just family. And just for a few minutes.”

He led them back to Mommy’s room. The cop sitting outside seemed to be asleep on the job. David went to him and shook him. “Wake up. You’re supposed to be watching Mommy’s room to keep the bad guys out.”

Constable Biggs looked up, but before he could say anything, Uncle Bast was leading David into the room, behind the doctor. The doctor said something to the nurse about giving them a few quiet minutes alone with the patient. The nurse stood up and she and the doctor left the room.

Bast sat down in the chair on one side of the bed. David moved his chair closer to Mommy on the other side. He sat down and took her hand. And started to talk about school, Ms. Dugan, and Buddy. He was there and he wasn’t going to leave her. If he did, he knew she would die……

What does this excerpt tell you about David? What techniques were used to show the reader David’s character? And as this is a child character, are his thoughts and language appropriate for a seven-year-old boy?

If you wish to find out more about the Beyond characters, Beyond Blood and Beyond Faith are available at amazon.com, amazon,ca, and other online places as well as some bricks and mortars stores.

But I am also suggesting you read a variety of novels (or short stories if that is your writing area) to see how a variety of other authors handle POV and character. Two caveats: unfortunately a small portion of published fiction messes up the POV – blame the editor here. And don’t copy what another author does – reading is for your learning and inspiration. In the end it’s your story and your characters.

Cheers.

Sharon A, Crawford

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Beyond Blood characters celebrate Christmas

Dana Bowman digging in her bag for Christmas presents?

Dana Bowman digging in her bag for Christmas presents?

Christmas is near and fraternal twins and private investigators Dana Bowman and Bast Overture, along with Dana’s seven-year old son David are gearing up for the big C – Christmas. But as we all know and have experienced, Christmas doesn’t usually go as planned.

Scene: Christmas Eve in the Bowman/Overture household.

Dana; Okay, David that’s enough peeking under the tree. Bedtime.

David: Aw, Mommy…

Dana: Come on, upstairs to bed so Santa can come down the chimney and surprise you with toys.

David: I want to surprise him and say “hello” and “thank you” when he arrives.

Bast comes into the living room: And help him eat the cookies too.
David: No, Uncle Bast. Well, maybe if he can’t eat them all. He is kind of fat you know.

David moves over to the mantle, gets down on his hands and knees and peers up the chimney.

Dana: David, what are you doing?

David: Checking to see if Santa can make it down the chimney or get stuck.

Dana: Really, David. That is part of the magic of Christmas.- Santa can always get in but you have to go to bed first or he won’t come.

David: But Mommy, I’m really worried he won’t be able to get down our chimney.

Dana, throws up her arms: David, he will get in.

Bast, goes over to David and crouches down to his level: Okay, David, looks like we’ll have to let you in on a little secret. If for some reason, and I’m just saying “if” Santa can’t make it down the chimney, we always leave the front door unlocked so he can come in that way.

Dana: Bast? Safety.

Bast: Shh.

David: Okay, Uncle Bast. Let’s unlock the door then?

Bast: Already done.

David: Can I just check? It might be stuck.

Bast looks at Dana and shrugs. Dana nods.

Bast: Okay, but then it’s up to bed with you. Promise.

David: I promise.

There is a knock on the door.

David jumps up: It’s Santa. He’s early.

All three rush to the door. Dana checks the small window.

Dana: Oh, no. And it is definitely not Santa. I guess we’ll have to let her in. Well, folks we have an extra Christmas guest, it seems.

Dana opens the door: Hello, Great Aunt Doris. I thought you would be spending Christmas with you nephew, Ron.

Doris: He seems to have plans, although he didn’t tell me what they are.

Bast: Well, I guess you better come in.

Doris: Hmm, still here, I see. I thought you would have moved out by now. This is the Bowman family home and should be Ron’s.

Dana: Now, Aunt Doris, you are quite welcome to spend Christmas with us but you have to be civil to us.

David: What’s civil?

Doris: Hello David, Merry Christmas. I guess we better do as your mother says and be nice to each other – that’s what civil means. After all it is Christmas.

Doris enters the house. Bast takes her coat and hat and puts them in the closet. Dana shrugs her shoulders and whispers: What else could I do.

David: Don’t lock the door. We leave it unlocked for Santa.

Doris: Young man, doesn’t Santa come down the chimney?

David: He’s fat and might get stuck.

Doris: Oh, I see. Good thinking, young man.

There is another knock at the door,

David: It’s Santa, this time.

David beats them all to the door and pulls it open. On the steps stands a young man in jeans, windbreaker and a toque. In his hand he holds a bunch of wrapped presents.

David: Daddy. You made it for Christmas.

Ron: Well, that is what you and I planned.

Dana groans. Bast sighs. Aunt Doris smiles and says, Merry Christmas. Now this family is all together for Christmas.

tree05

We will leave the Bowman/Overture family to celebrate Christmas, keeping in mind Dana and Ron are divorced. Ron has been an absent father. Aunt Doris doesn’t like Bast because he is gay. And Aunt Doris has a bad habit of not only landing on Dana’s doorstep uninvited, but she tends to stay and stay and stay.

If you want to read more about another of Aunt Doris’ never-ending visits amidst murder and other nasty deeds, you an read about it all in my latest Beyond mystery, the novel Beyond Blood. The link to info about that is on the book cover below.

And on behalf of Dana and the Beyond gang and me, too, I want to wish all of you a joyful and peaceful (as much as possible) holiday season however you spend it.

Just make sure Santa doesn’t get stuck in your chimney.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

The latest Beyond book in the series

The latest Beyond book in the series

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Merry Christmas from Beyond Blood characters and Sharon A. Crawford

Dana Bowman, David Bowman and Bast Overture from Beyond Blood are here with me on this Christmas Eve. I am posting a day early this week because southern Ontario has a horrible weather forecast from late tonight and into tomorrow – very heavy winds so there is the worry of damage and power outage. Scrooge’s saying “Bah Humbug” comes to mind.

Dana: Now Sharon, it’s not that bad.

Me: Fine for you to say – you are 30 miles north of Toronto in Thurston.

Dana: But we do have Snow Lake, a pretty big lake so could have lake effect weather issues. We do have a wind warning.

Me: But not 60 k an hour with gusts up to 90 or 100 k depending on where around the Great Lakes you are.

Dana: True.

Bast: It doesn’t hurt to make preparations.

Dana: Yeah right, little brother. Like you did for Y2K? Bast already is creating outside-the-fridge storage for our food.

David: And I’m making a tent for my stuffed beavers.

Me: Really? How many beavers do you have now?

David: Twenty.

Me: Will they all fit in your tent?

David: Yes, it’s a big tent.

Dana (scratching her head): At least that gets them out of his bed. At this rate we’ll have to get him a bigger bed.

David: Aw, Mommie.

Me: I, too am making preparations for this wind storm, but hadn’t thought of a tent. Anyway, aside from the storm, what are you doing to celebrate Christmas? David, I bet you are waiting for Santa.

David: Yes, Uncle Bast says the chimney is big enough for him to get down. But is it safe for him to land on the roof?

Bast: Santa could also land on the ground and get through a window.

David: But all the windows are locked.

Bast: Santa will figure a way to get in. Don’t forget he is magical for Christmas.

David: Goodie. Mommie; don’t forget to leave a snack out for Santa – near a window.

Dana (ruffling David’s hair): Don’t worry, I won’t.

Me: So how else are you celebrating Christmas? Is Great Aunt Doris coming for dinner?

Dana: No way. If that woman comes, she stays and stays and stays. No just the three of us this year. We have a turkey…

Bast: already cooked in case of power outage.

Me: And where are you keeping it in case?

Bast: In a Styrofoam container on the back porch outside the kitchen door.

David: With a brick on top to keep out racoons.

Me: I thought Thurston was rid of racoons.

Dana: Sh. Don’t give the plot of Beyond Blood away.

Me: Did I mention Beyond Blood?

Dana: Well, no.

Me: Let’s just wish everybody a happy and safe Christmas.

Dana, Bast, David and Me: Happy and safe holiday.

David: And build a tent to keep you safe.

 

Next week’s post will feature my review of another suspense-mystery author’s new book – Rene Natan’s The Woman in Black. I’ll also be asking Rene some writing-related questions. Stay tuned and hopefully I’ll post on New Year’s Day instead of one day early.

Meantime see Sharon’s website http://www.samcraw.com for more info on Beyond Blood and other writing, editing and workshops. And visit Sharon at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharon-A-Crawford/412730865439394
For last-minute Christmas shoppers: see below and click on book covers for online purchase of Beyond Blood e-copies from the publisher Blue Denim Pess (e-pub and Kindle). For print copies go to http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/contributor/author/sharon-a-crawford/?langtype=4105 Or go to any bricks and mortar bookstore and ask to have the book ordered in.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Interview with Fiction Characters by Fiction Characters – Part 42

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

But first an announcement from Sharon A. Crawford.

My prequel novel, Beyond Blood, is being published By Blue Denim Press this fall (2014). That means readers will find out what really happened to David Bowman before he became psychologically mute. Dana Bowman, Bast Overture, Great Aunt Doris Bowman, Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding, PC Joseph Oliver will be “back” as well as a few other characters including the mysterious “Him.” Stay tuned. Meantime check out my other blog for the post about getting another book published http://onlychildwrites.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/only-childs-novel-to-be-published-fall-2014/
Now back to our current story (and I promise it will be resolved by Easter – this year).

In the previous posting, Detective Hutchinson, Detective Sergeant Fielding and Dana Bowman were interviewing a couple of spirits (Roger Stuart, Susan Stuart) and a live one (Robbie Stuart) to get information on where Bast is and why he was kidnapped. Susan Stuart has just announced that her brother Robbie has written a tell-all family memoir being published this year.

Fielding: This payback isn’t just against Bast, is it Susan?

Susan: That’s for you to figure out.

Hutchinson: Quit playing games.

Susan: Or you’ll what? Do I have to keep reminding you I’m already dead and so is Dad?

Dana: Again, let me talk to them. My guess is you are also after Cory Swan, but I have a question. How did he find out?

Robbie: I told him about the memoir – I needed permission for some of his photos from the newspaper story.

Dana: And I suppose you contacted my brother for a similar reason – permission to use his story?

Robbie: Well, I called him, but after I talked to Swan. Bast had disappeared before I had a chance to talk to him.

Susan: Like I told you Dana, I really was trying to protect your brother from Cory Swan so brought him over to our side. But he got away and came back. And I really don’t know where he is now.

Fielding: Do you Roger?

Roger: No.

Fielding: Robbie?

Robbie: No.

Voice from behind: But I do. And I’m not telling where until you do as I say.

Dana, Fielding and Hutchinson turn around. Cory Swan stands inside the dining-room door. He is holding a gun.

Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

And stay tuned for more goodies on Beyond Blood.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: