Wednesday 8 January 2020

#IWSG post - Who's guilty? Not C Lee McKenzie!

Happy New Year all!

It's easy to feel insecure when fire threatens your village (as the image below shows), which it has done 4 times since September. Thanks to all of you who've shared Australia is Burning stories on FB and other social media. Appreciate that you care.

But it's insecurity re our writing that's the topic here!

There's so many ways we're insecure about our writing, isn't there? One is choosing the best point of view to tell your story.

After re-reading your draft, do you wonder if you've written in the best point of view? I've read authors who said after slaving away for months on their story, they realized they couldn't do it justice in the POV they chose. So they rewrite...and rewrite...

When I sat down to read C Lee McKenzie's Not Guilty, I wondered about the POV. I often read of males struggling to write the female's POV and vice versa. I think it's particularly gutsy to write from a seventeen-year-old male's POV as Lee has done. I wondered if she'd pull it off!

C Lee McKenzie, well known to most of us, chose the voice of teenager, Devon Carlyle, to tell her story. Devon comes through loud and clear and with great authenticity as he deals with the injustice dealt him by the law and his erstwhile friends and current enemies, at times with grace.

I like to learn something new when I read a novel, and I was fascinated with the peek inside a juvenile detention centre from an inmate's first hand POV. As much as I suffered along with Devon, I loved seeing the way it worked.

Lee's novel was a triumph of POV. But I was moved by the mother's character, too. There was a deep underlying emotion that couldn't be tackled in Devon's POV and there's a whole other book there...Lee? ... Lee?  No matter what POV we choose, it's limiting, isn't it?

I asked Lee about this. She graciously replied with the story of how she came up with the POV for Not Guilty...

"My answer is that all of my stories start from the character(s). In other words, I don’t sit down and think about whose POV it will be in. I know that’s what I’m supposed to do. Books on writing say, "Really consider whether you want an intimate first person POV or a close or distant third person before you write the book.”" 
But here’s my so-called system:  When I want to tell a story I start with the theme or main thread, then I wait for the character(s) to show up, and they pretty much determine which POV I’ll tell it in. If I remember correctly, I’ve only used first person POV in one of my books, but I’m open to doing it again if the character is. 
For Not Guilty, I wanted to tell a story about injustice, and the character that appeared was Devon Carlyle (the name was important, and if you read the story you’ll understand).  Since this book is supposed to be marketed for readers 14+, one of the criterion is that the protagonist be a teenager. I had Devon in my head; all I had to do was make him the right age. 
Now what if Margaret Carlyle had shown up instead? Would she have demanded to have center stage, be up-close and intimate with the reader? I’ll never know."

If you haven't had the pleasure of reading Lee's Not Guilty, think about doing yourself and Lee a favor. I know we all have Kindle's bursting with TBR titles, but how about we make 2020 our year of supporting fellow bloggers? Let's buy, read and review more of each other's books. I'm sorry that I've been more of a reader than reviewer in the past and will try to rectify that in 2020. How about you?

A blood-smeared knife. One young man’s word against another. A lifetime dream crushed. 
The evidence points to Devon Carlyle. He was there when it happened. Everyone knows he had it in for Renzo Costa. And Costa says Devon was the one. In the judge’s rap of a gavel Devon’s found guilty of assault. The star of the Oceanside High’s basketball team loses his shot at the one thing he’s worked so hard for—the championship game where college scouts could see how good he is.
Now he makes his great shots in Juvenile Hall with kids far different from those that have always been in his life. 
Angry? Hell, yes. 
He’s bent on finding who did the crime. He’s bent on making them pay because he’s Not Guilty.
But can he prove it?

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Thanks for coming by today. I hope your 2020 is going to be awesome! I know mine is!

Lee planning her next book..


Check out @cleemckenziea here:

POV in storytelling. Check out @cleemckenzie here:

And if you have time in your busy writing schedule, please consider joining the WEP/IWSG for the February 2020 challenge:

And we congratulate our winner for the December Footprints challenge, newbie Sonia!