Monday, April 1, 2013

Guest post and excerpt: Marsha Cornelius

Enjoy this guest post and excerpt from author Marsha Cornelius, whose book Losing it All is available this week only for just $.99 on Amazon. Read on to find out how you can win a free copy!

Doesn’t point of view drive you crazy some times?  I’ve read books where the POV changed two or three times - in the same paragraph. I’ve tried not to create this kind of writing faux pas, but I have been known to use two different POVs in the same book.

In my first novel, H10 N1, my two main characters, Rick and Taeya, share quite an adventure together. But they absolutely do not get along in the first portion of the book. I thought the best way to give them equal time in their disdain for each other was to include both of their perspectives on what was happening, and what they thought about each other.

Even if you only switch POVs a chapter at a time, it still gets a bit tricky. The author can’t just cover the same ground from the other point of view. (Although I’ve seen that done, too.) I read a novella where the author wrote the scene from the female lead’s perspective, then went back and did the whole scene again from the male’s POV. It was very disconcerting. Going back throws the reader out of the story just as much as changing the POV. So unless the opposing POV is critical to the plot, I say move forward.

I’ve changed whole chapters, however, because I wanted the scene to come from a certain character’s POV. It’s possible to add comic relief, or ramp up the drama, just by switching the perspective. And an author has a lot more leeway in telling a story when the main character isn’t around. In fact, it’s a great way to show the reader something that the main character doesn’t know. A glimpse behind the curtain, so to speak.

The Ups and Downs of Being Dead, my second book, is told strictly from Robert’s point of view.  The reader follows his journey as he waits to be brought back to life, along with other cryonically-frozen ‘ghosts’. It felt natural to tell the story from this one perspective.

But for my third novel, Losing it All, I’ve gone back to a dual point of view, not because the two main characters are adversaries, but because their lives are in two really different places at the beginning of the story. 

I want the reader to observe Frank and Chloe as their lives draw closer together. Kind of like Sleepless in Seattle. There’s no way that story could have been written from a single point of view.

Even when Frank and Chloe do meet, circumstances keep them apart until Chloe is at the end of her rope.

Here are two short excerpts that introduce Frank and Chloe.


Pain’s a bitch. 
The doctor at the VA called it phantom pain, nerve trauma that would eventually go away. Yeah, right. Frank was twelve years and counting.
This morning, he woke to a cold, sluggish fog that had his foot throbbing before he even stood. His only relief was to shift his weight to his toes and keep pressure off the heel. Of course, the gimp-walk didn’t do much for his appearance. People already shied away from his long hair and shaggy beard. The shuffling limp and tortured expression convinced onlookers that he was a derelict.
They should have seen him twelve years ago at the VA. The pain was so intense all he could do was lie in bed, groaning and thrashing, his hospital gown soaked in sweat. Once he was up and around, he’d rolled down the hallway in his wheelchair, ranting at other Vietnam veterans with missing legs and arms. His rage seemed to ease his pain, but like a drug, he needed more. So he started ramming into other wheelchairs, then chasing after those who could walk, bruising their ankles with his metal foot-plates.
On his feet, Frank was a regular fighting machine, wielding a crutch like a club, or throwing sucker punches when least expected. It never occurred to him that those guys were battling their own pain.
In desperation, he pinned a doctor to the wall with his own clipboard, threatening to decapitate him if he didn’t up Frank’s morphine dosage. An orderly put him out on the street.
Then the pain really took hold. The dribble of morphine still in his system wore off while he slouched in the back of a city bus headed for downtown Atlanta. When he threw up in the aisle, the driver tossed him off. Unable to stand, much less walk, Frank crawled into an alleyway and passed out.
A wino rummaging through a trashcan woke him. Frank offered the bum some dough for his bottle of Thunderbird, and slugged the wine down in one long gulp. From there it was all downhill.

One week only
April 1 – April 7
Losing It All
Only 99¢ on Amazon.   (US)   (UK)

About the Author:
After 15 years as an elementary school cafeteria manager, Cornelius quit her day job and now writes full time at home. That is, when she’s not posting on Twitter or sharing jokes on Facebook or chatting with other readers on Goodreads.
She has even been known to wipe a Swiffer over furniture surfaces and declare her home clean.
Her two grown sons lead their own lives, while her husband competes with two mollycoddled cats for affection.
This is her third novel.

Want to win a copy of Losing it All? Leave a comment on this post and one random poster will win! Winner will be announced on April 8.

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