Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Guest Post - Nancy S. Thompson

My special visitor today is Nancy S. Thompson, whose debut novel The Mistaken launched last week.

Thank you, Donna, for allowing me to sit in for a guest spot today!

I thought I’d talk about voice and writing a first-person narrative from multiple points-of-view.  This is how I constructed my newly released novel, The Mistaken.  Because the story is so emotionally charged, I used three characters to fully engage the reader and show the devastating impact of the novel’s events.  Using only one perspective would have greatly limited my ability to tell the whole story. 

Though I rely more heavily on one character—the male protagonist, Tyler Karras—I also use his wife in a limited capacity.  It was important to show how Jillian takes a stand against her husband’s wishes and how her act of defiance ultimately contributes to her demise.  Her death leads to Ty’s downward spiral and all the problems that result: his alcoholism and consuming need for revenge against the woman he feels is responsible.  The third perspective—Hannah Maguire—is the woman Tyler mistakenly targets for revenge.  As his wrongly accused victim, her voice offers sharp contrast to the remorse-stricken protagonist, whom some call an anti-hero.

When I started writing, I did so in close third-person, but that felt too detached and remote.  So I switched to first, which allowed me to furrow deep within the minds of each character.  I know, some readers don’t care for head-hopping, but I think it works when there’s a limited number, their voices are distinct, and are held per chapter.  The trick is not to hop too often, so for each character, I stuck to multiple consecutive chapters to develop a strong voice. 

Each voice has its own style and flavor that comes from deep inside the character.  It’s their way of speaking, their syntax, jargon, or particular vernacular.  Even their opinions are laced within their voices.  It is the intimate details of each character’s life experience that makes each voice unique, that calls to the reader to come close, have a seat, and sit a spell while they tell you their side of the story. 

It takes a keen understanding of who exactly is telling the story and why.  The perspective and voice are the embodiment of that spirit.  And in the end (as well as the beginning), it’s what keeps the reader reading.  No matter how good the plot, if the POV is underdeveloped or the voice falls flat, the reader loses interest.  Same holds true for too much voice, and in some cases, too many POVs, stretching the story thin in the name of breadth and clarity.

So what are your preferences for points of view?  Do prefer first or third person?  Does having multiple POVs enrich or dilute the story for you?

Visit Nancy’s blog, follow, and leave a comment during her book tour for a chance to win an ARC of The Mistaken.  Plus, 5 runner-up winners will each receive an ebook. 

You can also find her on her publisher’s website, Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook. 

Purchase The Mistaken here:

Also available at Sony, Kobo, iBooks, Diesel Bookstore, and Baker & Taylor in 2-3 weeks

Praise for The Mistaken:
“A deliciously slow burn that builds to a ferocious crescendo, Nancy S. Thompson's THE MISTAKEN kept me riveted until the very last page. Tyler Karras is a complex and flawed protagonist, and his redemptive journey makes him the perfect anti-hero. This psychological suspense is a standout, and I can't wait for Thompson's next book.”
~ Jennifer Hillier, author of CREEP and FREAK

“Nancy S. Thompson's debut novel, The Mistaken, is a first-rate thriller full of hair-raising twists and turns.  Pursued by the police and the Russian mafia in San Francisco, brothers Tyler and Nick Karras are fascinating, fully-drawn, desperate characters.  The action is non-stop.  Thompson's taut, intriguing tale of revenge, mistaken identity, kidnapping and murder will keep you enthralled and entertained.” 
~Kevin O’Brien, New York Times Bestselling Author of DISTURBED and TERRIFIED

“Fast-paced and emotionally gripping - once the ride begins, you won't stop reading until it ends."  ~Alex J. Cavanaugh, author of CASSAFIRE and CASSASTAR

The Mistaken Blog tour:

10/23:  Julie Musil
10/25:  Matthew MacNish
10/26:  LG Smith
10/27:  Aimee Jodoin
11/19:  Arlee Bird


  1. Nice post, Nancy!

    You commented about readers not caring for 'head-hopping', but what you did with The Mistaken isn't really head-hopping. Your POV shifts are clearly delineated and never occur without a chapter break. The technique is quite effective in The Mistaken, and I've seen it used well in other books (Jodi Picoult's House Rules had I believe five different POV characters, all told in first person). As for personal preference, I don't really have one, as a reader or a writer.

  2. It definitely made the story powerful. Not sure I could do first person. I don't want that far inside Byron's head!

  3. Great tips Nancy. I've never tried first person or multiple first person POV. So it's great learning how to do it.

  4. Great guest post and it depends on the story for me or sometimes the characters what pov comes due.

  5. The Mistaken is an awesome book and I loved the multiple 1st person POVs in it. I felt it was a lot more engaging. Great post!

  6. Congrats to Donna on landing an agent too! Woo hoo!!!!!

  7. You're so right, Nancy. Voice means everything. It's the heart of the story. And your story sounds full of heart, love, and emotion. Can't wait to read it.

  8. It's HARD to nail having multiple POV's in first person... I've read some disasters and also have read some AMAZING stories that have pulled it off. I'm excited for Nancy! So awesome seeing her beautiful face everywhere! <3

  9. When I started my WIP I also originally had it in 3rd person. I decided to write one chapter in first person to see if I liked it and I never looked back.

    I'm visiting from Nancy's blog today! New follower :)

    Samantha May
    Writing Through College

  10. I really don't have a preference in POV when I read. I enjoy first and third. When writing I prefer third because I find it easier, but somehow I ended up writing my current trilogy in all first person. Gah. Talk about being in a character's head. I've been stuck there for nearly three years now. :))

    Nice post. Getting read to dive in to The Mistaken later today. :)

  11. You know I'm partial to 1st. :D It's what comes most naturally to me.

    Congratulations again, Nancy!

  12. This is a very informative post on multiple POV. It got me thinking and now I'm even more anxious to read the book.
    I prefer 3rd person POV in my writing...

  13. I tend to prefer limited third person. Writing multiple povs is interesting. All success on The Mistaken, Nancy. I've got my copy. :D

  14. I love stories in first person, and I love it when stories are told from multiple povs. Not that I've written any yet. But I will soon.

    Good luck with your book, Nancy! :D

  15. Great post, Nancy! I'd been writing mostly in 1st, but for my WIP (a middle grade historical), I've gone back to 3rd for a slightly more storytelling-type voice.

  16. Thanks everyone! And thank you once again, Donna, for hosting. I think it's important to do what comes naturally. You have to feel comfortable with the voice that's speaking through you.

  17. I'll read either first or third (or second) but enjoy writing in third the most. I love multiple POVs; the more perspectives the better.

    Great post!

  18. Great post, Nancy!

    I like writing in first person too because it comes more naturally. Third person is tough to write. I like to feel comfortable when I write and if I have a good feeling, it makes the writing experience much better!

    And yeah, I like multiple perspectives. More the better!

    Thanks Donna for having Nancy over here! *hugs Donna*

    Much success is headed your way, Nancy! *hugs Nancy*

  19. Interesting post. Especially since I'm currently working on a manuscript with dual 1st person POVs. It's not an easy thing to do. I appreciate these thoughts and insights.

  20. Thanks so much! I've learned to love 1st person POV.


Comments brighten my day.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...