V here: Today I am welcoming horror author George Wilhite to the blog to talk about the power of point of view! George’s book Silhouette of Darkness will be published by Musa Publishing’s Thalia imprint this fall.
THE POWER OF POINT OF VIEW:
GREAT ADVICE FROM THE EDITORS OF MUSA FOR MY NEW COLLECTION SILHOUETTE OF DARKNESS
I am proud to announce that Musa Publishing will be releasing my second collection of horror fiction, Silhouette of Darkness on September 28, 2012. This is my debut with a publishing house and my collection is so much better due to their assistance.
I have learned a lot about writing during the editorial process, especially on the area of Point of View.
I chose to self-publish my debut collection of short fiction, On the Verge of Madness, through Lulu Press. After some success publishing individual stories, I collected eight of my strongest tales and began the long struggle to find a publisher. I found there is a lot of trepidation among publishers, especially the larger ones, concerning publishing collections. Everyone is looking for novels, especially ones that might begin a successful series.
I had many ideas for novels but was not ready for that commitment yet. In the meantime, I wanted to get my writing out there. After much rejection of the collection, I decided to take a leap and publish it myself.
The editing process is always painstaking, but the biggest challenge was knowing when it was “good enough” to go to print. My wonderful and ever patient wife is always my first set of eyes and she went through several drafts of the stories with me, and then I found some other writer friends to do the same.
It was worth the effort to have an actual book to promote, though that is tough on your own as well. I have received eight very good reviews, which are invaluable as blurbs to further promote my writing.
All that said — I am thrilled that Musa Publishing has decided to publish Silhouette of Darkness! It is exciting to have a publisher behind me providing a book cover, marketing and perhaps most importantly—editorial services!
I have to admit that, when I opened the manuscript sent back from my editor the first time around, I almost passed out looking at all that red! Here, I thought these stories were good to go after all the time I spent on them, and the collection was accepted for publication, and still — all this red?.
But as I began surveying all the highlighted sections and editorial comments, I saw some patterns I never noticed my own. It wasn’t necessarily “bad writing,” just lapses of showing not telling, providing too much information at times, that sort of thing.
One major change Musa suggested was that I choose a character’s point of view for each story, and then stay with it throughout. Unless I chose first person, I had been “head-hopping,” figuring: “Hey, if I’m the omniscient narrator, anything goes, right? I know what everyone’s thinking, so I’ll just tell the reader.”
Musa has taught me this cheats the reader. If someone is going to buy your book and invest their time in reading the stories (the goal being they read ALL OF THEM, not skim through) it is more effective to place that reader in one set of eyes, letting them sense everything through that one point of view.
When I followed their advice, I have to admit the stories really flow that way, and more importantly, there is a lot more emotional impact when a character must experience a horrible scene with all his/her senses vs. Mr. Narrator/God of the Text describing it.
This is just one subtle way Musa made my stories so much better. It took a lot of time and effort to go through them and make this change but I thank my Musa editor for the valuable advice. This practice in POV will make my novel in progress much stronger as well.
Please look for Silhouette of Darkness from Musa on September 28, 2012. I hope you enjoy reading the stories as much as I have writing them.
George Wilhite has been an aficionado of the horror genre since his youth, discovering Poe and Lovecraft at an early age while also spending many summer nights at drive-in theaters watching the contemporary scene unfold. His stories have been published in numerous anthologies, genre magazines and web sites. He also serves as editor of Static Movement anthologies and reviews books for The Horror Review web site. For the latest information on his own work, as well as reviews of other writers and exciting guests, follow his blog “Long Intervals of Horrible Sanity” at: http://georgewilhite.blogspot.com/
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