Wednesday, September 5

Point of View

Point of View, or POV, is something I'm thinking about today (today being almost a week ago, I'm really trying hard to get blog posts written ahead of time so I'm not scrambling at the last minute!)

Anyway, I'm going through my very last round of edits on Bound, and that got me to thinking about POV. See, Bound is told entirely from Jason's POV (he's the 22 year old submissive, aka that cute guy wearing the collar). It's kind of ironic, too, because my WIP is also told exclusively from one character's POV--the irony is that half the reason I love writing romance so much is that it's expected that you'll give the reader both (or more if it's menage) the MC's POVs. It doesn't have to be that way, but alternating POV for romance is pretty much the "norm", even though alternating POV has fallen wildly out of favor in other genres. I have no idea why. I love getting into all of my characters heads (and technically I do, it's just what I show you that comes across on the page).

Some interesting things happen when you start limiting POV, especially since I tend to favor "close third person" or "free indirect style" / "free indirect speech" (same thing, different name depending on your source). Basically it means I'm telling the story almost as if I'm the character; if he doesn't see it, feel it, touch it, think it, I don't put it on the page. Sometimes that makes for awkward passages, as the MC can only guess what other people are thinking--and sometimes I let a few slightly more omniscient things creep in for the sake of my sanity (and clarity of writing), but it really forces a writer to think about "what does my character perceive" here? How observant is he? And, is he being lied to?

Bound begins with Jason seeing a gray leather collar across the dealers' room at sci fi con and going over to have a look, even though the dealers' room isn't open yet; he's only allowed in because he's working set-up. That "gopher badge" will get you into places ;-)  From there, Jason goes back to his room, where he's thinking about his "on-again-off-again" boyfriend of the last five years, Terry; Jason and Terry are definitely "off-again", since Terry stood Jason up two weeks ago.

All readers ever learn about the incident is what Terry told Jason, that Terry "forgot" about their date. Later, Jason's alleged best friend Kendra tells Jason to listen to let Terry explain and apologize (and to accept the apology) because "you and Terry are so good together."

Why would someone's best friend say "you're so good together" of an on-again-off-again relationship? The reader never finds out, but clearly Jason and Kendra see Jason and Terry's relationship very, VERY differently.

Kendra is looking through the lens of her experiences, experiences the reader never sees, never even hears about because Jason isn't very pleased with Kendra at the moment (ergo, he's not predisposed to be sympathetic to her point of view). Now, I could tell you what Kenda's deal is; I could even tell you where Terry was the night he claims he forgot about his date with Jason. But that's not the point. The point is that when we're dealing with (either as readers or writers) close third person, we need to remember that we're dealing with "unreliable witnesses" (because all witnesses are unreliable). On top of that, Jason only sees as much of his world as anyone would see of theirs--he doesn't know where Terry was and he doesn't know why Kendra is pushing him to accept Terry's lame-ass apology (see, there? That's a great example of free indirect style aka close third person. "Lame-ass apology"--Terry's apology is fact, "lame-ass" is Jason's perception.)

It is exactly this unreliability that makes free indirect style so appealing to me as a writer. I get to taunt you with clues but keep (or reveal) my secrets later on.

If you'd like to read more, check just look to your right and maybe scroll up a tick 'til you see that big contest announcement! (Or, you know, you can just buy a copy when it comes out in few weeks!)

A couple of quick announcements:
Next week I'll be featuring Guest Blogger and fellow DSP author Michael Rupured.

His novel, Until Thanksgiving is due out from Dreamspinner Press in either December or January. It sounds like an awesome read; I think we've all been where MC Josh Freeman has been at least once in our lives: heartbroken, lonely, and drowning in self-pity... which is why today's recipe (see just a little further down) is all about comfort food.

"Josh Freeman believes his life is over. A middle aged gay man in the college town of Lexington, Kentucky, his best years were behind him. When his partner of seventeen years leaves him for a younger man, Josh buries himself under a pile of take-out boxes, empty bottles, half-smoked joints, and self-pity. His best friend Linda does what best friends do: gently kicks his ass and encourages him to give the job he's been offered in Washington D.C. a try--at least until Thanksgiving."

Sweet and Savory Pork Chops with Apples

Special equipment:
coffee grinder (although you can get away without one)


  • Pork Chops (1 per person--two if your guests have big appetites)
  • Apples (1 per person--although you could easily cut that down to 1/2 an apple per person)
    my personal preference is gala apples, but any sweet, crisp apple will work. even a slightly tarter apply will be just fine
  • Approx. 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds per apple
  • a sprinkle of sugar (regular white granular sugar is perfect for this)--something like a half teaspoon or so per apple; this is one of those things I just sprinkle on rather than measuring exactly.
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic per pork chop
  • approx. 4 oz almond meal per pork chop (you can buy almond meal with the flours in your local healthfood store, or in convenient little bags in the baking aisle in the grocery store; there it's called crushed almonds, and the consistency isn't QUITE the same, but if you only need a few ounces, it's perfect!)
    Almost any ground nut can be substituted--pick your favorite nut and experiment! 
  • approx. 1 Tablespoon of flour per pork chop
  • a dash of salt and pepper (more or less to taste)
  • a teaspoon or so of olive oil (a little more if you're doing more than two chops)
Okay, got all that?
You're going to need a skillet, togs/fork, and a hearty apatite!

  1. Lightly oil a skillet and set it on the stove to heat; you're looking for a nice medium hot pan.
  2. Mix almond meal, garlic, salt, and flour on a plate and lightly coat your chop/s. 
  3. Drop the cops gently into the pan and let them brown; then flip and brown the other side.
  4. Cover the pan and lower the flame/temp; let the chops cook on low heat until done (depending on thickness, I let mine cook for a good 10 to 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them and flipping occasionally). (I like a good thick chop, if you're working with a thinner chop or a pork steak, it'll take less time to cook). 
  5. While they're cooking, slice your apple/s. I like to do cross sections. I don't bother pealing (I'm lazy), but I do cut out the core. 
  6. Here's where that special equipment comes in. Fennel and apples are an amazing combination, especially when pork is involved. But I really hate biting into fennel seeds. I would much rather grind them up into powder. There's no harm in not, but it's a nice option. 
  7. Once that's done, lay the apples out on a plate (don't forget to keep an eye on your chops!!) and sprinkle them with sugar and fennel. 
  8. As soon as the chops are nearly done, add the apples to the pan. They shouldn't stay in for more than a couple of minutes, just enough to warm them up, but the idea is to avoid mush! (Which is another reason to begin with crisp apples, rather than something like a delicious apple). 
  9. Once the apples are warmed up and have a little color on each side, remove the apples and the pork from the pan to a plate and serve up hot!
And since I know of at least one person who checks in fairly regularly who doesn't eat pork, yes, this will work quite well with chicken  ;-)  I'd recommend starting with boneless and skinless; you might need a hint more oil to keep them from sticking/burning and of course, alter the cook time accordingly. 

I was completely taken by surprise the first time I ate a sweet and savory combination like this, but the sweetness of the apple, sugar, and fennel play off beautifully with the savory garlic and of course the little hint of salt. (If you're working with a tart apple, you may want a hint more sugar). Both pork and chicken lend themselves well to this sort of dish.



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