How to Write & Edit Multiple Point Of View Books
By Lesley James, Sep 25 2014 03:29PM
What is the hardest part of writing a male voice convincingly?
LJ: To be perfectly honest I found Edward’s voice surprisingly easy. I grew up with five brothers and have always worked in a male dominated industry, so I’m bombarded daily with the way the male mind works.
Having a character map helps. I have boards in my study full of notes, dates, images and history for all the characters’ lives. I studied them before writing each character’s point of view and imagined how they would feel and think. I would compare it to an actor getting into a part before a performance.
Writing both books at the same time and not in chronological order was the greatest challenge. I wrote one scene as Lizzy and then wrote Edward’s version, remembering to switch personalities as I went.
What is the greatest difference between the male and female character in the same scenes?
LJ: I write with the general premise that women feel and men think. I have found that on a very basic level this is generally true, at least when two people meet for the first time.
The voices I use for each book are very different. Edward’s is factual and straightforward and Lizzy’s is more spontaneous and emotional. The characters react very differently to the same situation, and misunderstandings occur as they interpret their circumstances from their respective mind-sets.
Lizzy describes how she feels about Edward. She is open about her insecurities and her desires and she allows her romantic ideals to influence and shape her expectations. She over-analyzes everything and is always anticipating the future.
However, Edward thinks about how she arouses him, what she looks like, what he wants to do to her, and is mostly preoccupied with his own sexual appetite. He talks about his penis as a third entity, controlling him and ignoring his common sense. At first he doesn’t think much beyond the chase and the end prize of his physical gratification. As the plot deepens he denies his emotions and when they eventually burst through they are a surprise to him.
Did you use the same beta readers for each book?
LJ: It is important to me that my books are a good read individually as well as when they are read as a pair. So I drew up a list of diverse reader profiles, including single men and women and couples aged between 25-60. They were issued with a questionnaire and asked to give honest feedback.
I had expected the couples to give me positive comments (as they were my target audience), which they did, but I was also pleasantly surprised by the comments I received from the singles groups. After they read their own sex’s book, they really wanted to see the other side. There seems to be a strong desire and curiosity to understand the opposite sex and what turns each of them on, as well as interest in the dynamics of a relationship.