Patrice Michelle wrote a blog on this today, and it really struck a chord with me because I’m in the middle of two books. I’m desperately trying to finish ‘The Last Templer’ but it’s very tough going. It’s probably one of the worst written books I’ve read, switching mercilessly between anyone’s POV, (head-hopping, as my editor says), until I’m never sure who is thinking what or about to speak next. Another thing that bothers me are the historical settings. I’m sure the author did tons of research, but it hardly shows. The other book I’m reading is White Murder, and it quite a lot of fun being a Roman mystery (set in ancient Rome) but with the protagonists speaking like characters out of a Dashell Hammet mystery. It actually adds veracity, because I bet the Romans loved slang. The hero of the story loves wine bars and good food, and the author here has done a ton of research and it shows flawlessly. He’s written a really good tale full of colorful characters and I’m dying to see ‘who dunnit’.
I’m also re-writing a book I started and can’t finish. I’m chopping out huge hunks of it – slashing and burning, to try and hone it down to where I can start over again and build it on a more solid base. It’s got too many characters, and although I’m going to keep them, I’m taking out their POV’s. The book ‘The Last Templer’ has shown me how too many POV’s can weaken a story. The White Murder, which is a huge book (over 500 pages) is told first person, so it’s only one POV and it’s a strong, well-told story.
Writing lesson for the day – too many POV’s can spoil the book, just as too many cooks spoil the soup!
Oh, and if you’ve read a few of my books, would you trot over to my website and take the poll? (under the News section) I’m really interested in what readers prefer to read!