1st Person POV in Writing – Remove “I”s and Eyes

I came across this gem: http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/most-common-mistakes-series-is-your-2/ and my perspective on 1st Person point-of-view changed for the better. 

As we know, 1st Person involves heavy use of the word “I”, as well as a deeper understanding into the main character. Many people dislike 1st Person narrative, because it can feel like the reader is being bogged down with description rather than action. The temptation to explain everything results in readers knowing practically everything and not being given the chance to solve some mysteries, which is a point K.M. Weiland makes in her post.

Personally, I feel that, when done correctly, 1st Person can swallow the reader whole. We can immerse ourselves in the story.

Writing in 1st Person inevitably produces commentary, because you’re putting yourself in the character’s shoes. Sure, you have private thoughts, but you don’t mentally narrate backstory or exposition; you’re experiencing the moment. This doesn’t make you a bad writer if you recognise this during your drafts. Instead of being the centre of scenes, 1st person narrators should be the witnesses. The purpose of 1st Person is to become the character, whereas with 3rd Person it is to follow them. 

A way to do that is to remove the eyes. Your character is already “seeing”, so there’s no need to emphasise that the character has eyes. Imagine a line where the reader is standing at the back, next is the point-of-view character, then the eyes, and finally the action. For example: instead of saying ‘I could see the sun dipping below the horizon’ (or a better example than that!), use ‘The sun dipped below the horizon’ and just leave it at that. Highlighting that the character has vision is just surplus and bogs the writing down. We already know the character is spectating this, because they’re relating it to us: the reader.

 

Featured Image by George Hodan

Why “Punjabi Sentence Builder” by Team Indic is One of the Best Punjabi Resources Out There (Book Review)

htlp-project-indic

Punjabi Sentence Builder, Team Indic (ebook). Available from: http://howtolearnpunjabi.com/ .

Approximately 90-100 million people speak or know the Punjabi language, yet its lack of business or cultural power means there is little interest outside of the Indian/Pakistani diaspora, and the fact that it’s a tonal language doesn’t help with the appeal.

There are plenty materials on Punjabi, however most if not all are designed for the children of Punjabi-speaking immigrants on the assumption that Punjabi is their first language. Now, the generations are evolving and becoming more rooted to their countries of birth; there is nothing wrong with this, it is perfectly natural to want to belong. I can emphasise this as a child of Punjabi-speaking parents. Unfortunately, being fed a daily diet of English makes it quite difficult to assume a grasp of Punjabi. It’s no use just consuming a language: you need to know the why to be able to use it properly. It’s especially more challenging if the languages share little in common.

how-to-learn-punjabi

Punjabi Sentence Builder is, quite frankly, a saviour. Not only does it break things down easily and concisely, it enforces retention through daily exercises and timetables to ensure you stick to them! There are also flash cards that can be printed out for daily immersion.

The book is designed to help you from an English point of view. It endeavours to help you understand how Punjabi sentences are constructed and slowly builds up your ability.

There is a little qualm. Just a little one. The ebook is thin (if the concept is possible); it’s a sinfully quick read. I found myself disappointed that it didn’t have more content, since it was so effective. If Team Indic were to create a second volume, I would happily purchase it (provided it’s a little longer).

[You can’t see this but there is an insane amount to elbow-nudging happening right now].

Christian Grey: as Attractive as an Outbreak of Cholera

Guest Writer: V. Cole

After my last piece, I decided to do some investigating to find out reasons why women love Christian Grey, the love interest in the – sadly – widely successful series Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. I trawled through the forums praising this dishrag of a series hoping to find some insight from fans. It was rather odd considering Edward Cullen has countless threads on Twilight forums yet Christian Grey only had one and only a few replies. These pretty much consisted of ZOMG GREY IZ TEH HOTTEST!!11!!!1 Not overly helpful to be honest. I’ve read countless fans excuse Edward Cullen’s psychosis and stalking with what they believe i.e. that he is just protective. None of that about Grey. So that has left me to conclude that he is only seen as the greatest catch ever due to the fact that he is devastatingly handsome (every woman gapes like a dead fish when he walks by), and that he is stupidly rich (cannon never made much sense with that).All I can say to that is to picture the actor who plays him and imagine all the qualities and personality of Christian. Now instead of the actor, picture him as a grossly overweight, balding, short, fifty-something-year-old man with a sweating problem. Remember, he still has his money and personality! Is he still the greatest man ever? Hmm . . . Didn’t think so. Unfortunately, the allure of Mr Grey appears to be utterly shallow.

So where does that leave the blog post? Well I’m not giving up without a fight so I read a few articles that praise him and decided to rip their reasons to shreds. I have cannon in one hand and a glass of lovely Shiraz wine in the other. LETS DO THIS!!

1. Sometimes women like men to take control.

I saw this reason time and time again on many different articles. Don’t get me wrong, it can be nice for your partner to say “Hey, I’ve booked us a table at . . . Let’s go.” Life is stressful and sometimes it’s nice for someone to take control once in awhile. That’s what people applaud Christian Grey for. Um . . .  no. I must ask this to the people who say this. DID YOU EVEN READ THE F***ING BOOK!?!?! He takes control to the extreme. His issues with food really p*** me off, especially as a recovering bulimic. I loathe that he orders for her in restaurants yet continually tells her what to eat and drink with the guise of health. It is none of his bloody business what she eats, considering she is a waif in the books and constantly doesn’t eat. Would you really be impressed with going to a nice restaurant, looking at all the amazing choices but nope your man decided for you. No steak for you! Have a salad instead. Yes, I know she thinks all the food he gives her is amazing but that is not the point. She is a brainwashed bint who thinks his farts smell of roses. I brought up the bulimia as personally I worry over food all the bloody time and if I had someone that controlling doing that to me, then I would panic and maybe end up relapsing. People are very funny with food. I don’t care that he was hungry for a grand total of four years before being adopted by lavishly loving and rich Greys; getting pi**y because someone doesn’t want to finish their dinner can trigger things. Ergh, he is such a kn*bguzzler.

It’s not just the food. He controls everything in her life! Who she can and can’t see, where she can go and he must know at all times-  also don’t forget he controls what she wears in later books. Its stalkerish and abusive. Girls, would you really like it if you were told you can’t see your friends anymore because your partner disapproves for some vague reason, or that if you do go out with them then it has to be his way or he will beat you. Oh sorry, I mean punishment *rolls eye*. He will beat Ana for just rolling her eyes at him which is something he disapproves of. Does that sound healthy? Romantic? Nope, didn’t think so. He treats her like a bad dog owner. “Oh, you have done something I don’t like. Well hang on a mo while I get my belt.” Taking control by booking a dinner is one thing. Not this. This is blatant abuse, don’t swoon! Call the police!

2. Possessive traits show that he loves you!

I know this is similar to the last point but it’s important. This is one of the most stupid and disturbing reasons to love this man. In Fifty Shades Freed Christian punches a guy in the face for dancing with Ana. He had already apologised to Ana after she slapped and screamed that she was somebody else’s property, oh sorry, I mean married. “He apologised, end of!” Nope, not good enough for Grey, he has to punch him to demonstrate that that is his property. Who doesn’t love being treated like an object *groans and drinks wine*. I have seen articles saying how nice it would be to have a man that loves you so much that he can’t bear to have another touch or look at you that he resorts to violence. What planet do you people live on? You could never enjoy yourself in a nice bar because God forbid a man looks at you and your boyfriend acts like Neanderthal. How about a friend you’ve known for years who happens to be a guy and straight, that surely means that’s out of the window as your love is a jealous thug. This behaviour does not show love, it shows an insecure jerk who does not trust you to not fling yourself and getting down and dirty on the dance floor because a stranger looked at you in a flatteringly way. It’s a very fine line until he starts checking your phone constantly and demanding you don’t go anywhere without him. This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. One of the worst quotes I have ever seen and still creeps me out to know end. If I have to suffer then so, do you so here it is: “I want you sore, baby . . . Every time you move tomorrow, I want you to be reminded that I’ve been here. Only me. You are mine.”

Blergh! I need more wine, wire wool and bleach. She had just lost her virginity and he wants her to be reminded of his ownership of her lady bits by making her sore. Romance for the ages people! While he is slamming into her (no seriously, nothing is ever gentle) he says so many times that she is his. I hate this man so much. This is not a Georgian romance where love interests would dual for the lady’s hand, this is the 21 st century and frankly women deserve better than a jealous, possessive and sexist thug. He may be pretty and rich but he is a thug.

3. I can fix him Mama!

This is about the same old crappy trope of the ordinary girl fixing the broken bad boy and they live happily ever after until he murders her and buries her in the cellar. This is frankly a dangerous message to send out to people. Also if anyone says it’s just fiction then I will start flinging a cactus. Christian Grey is a psychotic ar**hole who blames everyone (especially his mother: see my review of Grey for further details) for why he is such a pr**k. He is a total abusive narcissist who constantly brings up his past for why he is the why he is. For those who don’t know, Grey was born in Detroit to a young crack addicted woman who resorted to prostitution. He talks about being hungry and beaten by her pimp until at the age of four- his mother died from an overdose. He lays with her for four days, all nicely sanitised as he just describes her as cold and trust me, having worked in a funeral directors you are not just cold after four days of post mortem. He is then adopted by the stupidly rich, indulgent and loving Greys fairly quickly. He blames his mother for why he purposely picks young, thin, brown haired girls to beat and screw as they resemble her appearance. Creepy! I’m not saying that he doesn’t deserve sympathy for his past but I will damn him for using his past traumas to abuse young women. He constantly uses it as an excuse for his appalling behaviour, which is a total slap in the face to those who have suffered horrendous abusive pasts and are good human beings who don’t abuse others. Yes, I know many serial killers come from abusive families, but we don’t slap a love interest sticker on them and call them the greatest man ever. Grey may see a therapist, however he seems pretty useless and breaks confidentiality. People may say that Ana changed him but not really. He may not smack her with a belt because she rolled her eyes; he is still just as controlling. She changed nothing about him except that she “cured” him of BDSM, which is frankly disgusting considering the BDSM scene is not an excuse for abuse but an alternative and happy lifestyle for many. Someone as vile as Christian cannot be changed as he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with his personality. He may refer to himself as “Fifty Shades of F***ed Up” but that is just wanting to sh*g girls who look like his birth mother. He is still a monster and will stay a monster. Ana did not change him and never will. This rarely works out in real life and sadly they usually end in tragic ways.

4. It’s just fiction! We all need escapism.

No. I am sick to death of hearing that excuse. Films, TV and books all have meanings and messages. Jane Eyre taught us to be strong women who stick to what we believe in no matter the temptation, Harry Potter taught us that love is the most powerful magic and Jurassic Park taught us that life finds a way. Books provide messages that influence people and their lives. There is no denying that! Also before anyone thinks “Well I don’t see you writing anything that’s a bestseller.” Well I’m not a creative writer unlike our wonderful blog leader Thirdeyeavaaz who deserves to be published [TEA notes: I didn’t put her up to say that, I promise!], I am an analytical writer so that argument fails. These books are nothing but poison. The messages are disgusting: how dare I ignore the fact that it’s Ana that changes for Christian *cough* anal sex *cough* (!) He stalks her, mentally, physically and sexually abuses her- is so possessive that I think he is one step away from dragging her back to the flat by her hair, and controls every aspect of her life. He is so insecure that he buys the publishing house she works in so he can keep an eye, and she mysteriously becomes one of the bosses despite being as useful as a condom to the Pope. This book tells women they are property and stalking means love. It is a total slap in the face to the BDSM community who suffer so much prejudice because of what they consensually enjoy and now have that prick as a mainstream poster boy. It’s disgusting and I loathe it. So no, it is not just fiction. Words have influence, and please future authors use them to empower women, men who are not glorified for being thugs and show true and equal love. Love that shows both partners having mutual respect and trust for one and another.

I could have said so much more but my ranting over each point has taken up my word count so I will have to end here. Sadly there is so much more, like how women love men with power and money *vomits*. I hope you all enjoy reading while I enjoy my wine. Happy blogging, people!

Why Grey is a Nothing but Toilet Paper

Guest Writer: V. Cole

I’m sure many of us heard about the release of Grey by E. L. James in 2015, the companion novel to the Fifty Shades series, which tells us the story of the first book but in the point of view of the apparently the most desirable guy ever: Christian Grey. After reading the trilogy I can honestly say I am terrified. I do warn you all that this review is not short as there is just too much to discuss.

Let’s start with the background of this series that seemed to be what everyone was talking about in 2012. Having started its life as Twilight fanfiction, when the character’s names were changed (not their personalities), Master of the Universe became Fifty Shades of Grey. Or simpler terms: Twilight porn minus the sparkling. (Don’t worry readers, there is still plenty of dazzling!) Some people loved the series and lauded it as a great love story, one that has sparked sales in whips and other BDSM gear. Others, like myself, thought it as a horrifying story of abuse and appallingly written.

So why did I read this rag? I felt that I couldn’t comment about the messages of the series without reading it. So I borrowed it from my Nan’s neighbour and managed to get through the trilogy, even though I needed a dousing of brain bleach afterwards. I won’t comment too much on the series that is written from Ana’s point of view as it has been done to death. No point flogging a dead horse after all. So I thought I would read and review Grey instead as I appear to be a literary masochist.

Why has it taken me so long to review this book? I refuse point blank to buy this new and therefore fund E.L. James’ bank account. So, I waited, hoping to find it in a charity shop so at least the money could go to a good cause. In the end I got it at a boot sale for 50p; I was OK with that.

Now for the controversial statement: I actually thought this was the best book in the Fifty Shades series. Before you get the pitchforks out; it really says a lot that it is easier to read in the point of view of the psychotic Christian Grey than the utter stupidity that is Anastasia Steele. What a relief it was to not have to read with the vapid sex obsessed “Inner Goddess” and the irritating subconscious constantly showing up just to p*** me off. As much as James tries to make Ana intellectual and deep, she is actually dumber than a rock and could easily win the Darwin Awards. I get she was meant to be naive and Grey opens the world of sex to her but her extreme naivety just makes me want to bash my head against the wall! Who seriously thinks when you are round a guy’s place for sex, especially after seeing a BDSM contract, and he offers to show you his playroom, that he actually means you are going to play Xbox, seriously how stupid can you get?!?!

So in a nutshell yes, this book was easier to read but make no mistake, this book is horrible. Christian Grey is a monster in the trilogy: I would gladly see him meeting Ramsay Snow/Bolton as a prisoner but most likely they would just swap stories and tips. It is always beyond me how so many women think he is the ultimate man to be with, and sometimes I feel forced to think it’s because he is pretty and rich as his personality is just ugly. We saw all this behind the vapid eyes of Ana but now we get pure and non-stop Grey. He is even more ugly and vile in this novel. He is a whiny brat within the first few pages because his personal trainer dared to beat him. His treatment of Ana when he first meets her is deplorable; he is purposely making her uncomfortable and frightened because he is once again nothing but a petulant brat. He enjoys it and keeps thinking of other ways to make her uncomfortable. Then we have the lovely line where she asked him if he is gay and his inner monologue is frankly disturbing as he wants to beat her for punishment. Really?!? James, you do realise it’s 2016 and not 1916 right? Why is it so offensive to you to be asked if you are gay? That just screams to me that he is an insecure homophobe who feels he must be a manly man at all times. I wouldn’t say this if this happened once but throughout this book, he keeps ranting on and on about how dare Ana asks if he is gay and again how much he wants to beat her for it. What a charmer! Doesn’t help that the only two gay characters that appear in this excuse for literature is a stereotypical, flamboyant gay hairdresser and the other is Grey’s assistant. Her being a lesbian is the explanation as to why she doesn’t gape like a moron every time Grey looks at her like every single woman to appear. Fear not, Grey is horrible to all of them for daring to stare at his looks. Throughout the book he is just as patronising and condescending to Ana, but it’s made worse as we are privy to his horrid thoughts.

So we have had our lovely protagonist and now it’s time to discuss our heroine. I made no secret that I think Ana is so mind numbingly stupid, however I also find her very self- involved and hypocritical due to her treatment of her friend Kate. Kate is a genuine friend who just wants to look out for Ana as she is honestly concerned alas, no Ana has to go on and on about Kate in unflattering terms. She is hypocrite in the fact she thinks Kate needs to get a room before she is kissing Elliot considering she lets Grey pleasure her in the lift filled with people (how charming). She is also incredibly possessive of Grey and gets insanely jealous of his ex and friend. So to sum up, Ana is a stupid and unpleasant person. Sadly, as we are in the head of Grey, all we hear about is how amazing, beautiful, intelligent and perceptive Ana is. He will break from his condescending tone to switch to bloated flowery prose of how awesome Ana is. Frankly, it makes me uncomfortable as we all know Ana is James’ self- insert, so it sounds like James is using Grey to w*nk about how great Ana and therefore how great James is *shudder*. I may pause to scrub myself with wire wool and bleach.

Ah, that’s better! I feel clean again even though I may need it again as it’s time to discuss the sex. I got so bored of the sex in the trilogy since it just seemed the same thing over and over, adding a whip and clamp here and there. The sex is still just as boring but to spice things up we now have the psychotic thoughts of Grey to see us through this tedium. One improvement is that Grey doesn’t have the mind of an immature 10-year- old looking and giggling at the reproduction chapter in a science book like Ana does. It seriously p***ed me off that she would constantly say things like ‘down there!’: it’s your vagina you immature bint, for God’s sake!! So yes, at least we get the anatomical names and slang for genitals. On the other hand, sex through Grey’s eyes just creeped me out. He sounded really pervy and every time he said “good girl” I died a little inside. Maybe that’s people’s “thing”, but considering how much he treats Ana like a child in the books it just makes me feel icky.

Then we have the darker side to the sex scenes in this book. The scene that comes to mind is when Ana sends him an email saying no to the relationship after her “research”, which consisted of one whole Wikipedia page. She sends it as a joke because she is stupid, so instead of Grey doing the sensible thing like, you know, calling her to discuss it he just breaks into her house and has sex with her. Who said romance is dead? She dares to roll her eyes at him and that’s when it gets disturbing. He uses sex as a way to humiliate and use her and his thoughts are just vile. He uses the fact that she is wet to prove in his sick head that she loves it even though they practically stopped rutting ten minutes before, so no s**t! He does this constantly; the times that he forces punishment sex on her, he constantly blames her for this and thinks that he is right. We know from her POV that she is terrified and upset. Nice way to victim blame, Grey. Even when she dumps him after he whips her brutally, it is naturally all her fault in his psychotic brain. Why do women lust after this man!?! I honestly want reasons.

The rest of the characters are unsurprisingly just as flat as they were in the trilogy. Can’t waste time with character development when we can spend pages and pages of w*n***g over Ana after all. Mia is still a carbon copy of Alice Cullen which irritates me since I loathe Alice. The only development Mia gets is that she is even more of a petulant child as the more we saw more of her, whereas Elliot just carries on being one of the most likeable characters which to be fair is not hard. The rest are honestly just cardboard cut outs to make our couple look good.

The background character I want to discuss is Ella, or as Grey so charmingly calls his birth mother: the crack whore. In the trilogy, I honestly found her a sympathetic character. She was clearly very young with a four-year- old child who most likely had a very tragic background that caused her to become a drug addicted prostitute. Her pimp constantly beats her and abuses her mentally, she reminds me of Merope Gaunt in the way that she is so downtrodden that she fell to rock bottom and couldn’t live to save her son. However, there are hints in the text that she did love her son, he had toy cars and it is said she made him a birthday cake. Considering it is described that they are extremely poor then that is a kind thing for Ella to do for her son. He says how he loves stroking her hair and there seems to genuine love for her in the irritating child chapters. Yet, in Grey he has a few flashbacks and she calls him ‘maggot’ a few times. This to me screams retcon. I think James realised that she was actually sympathetic and this takes away from the limelight from the amazing Cullens, oh sorry I mean Greys (seriously James, try and make your characters not carbon copies of the Cullens, it’s just lazy). It also made Grey sound like the raging arsehole that he is because the way he talks about her is spiteful – evidence shows that she did love him. Can’t have the Christian Grey seem horrible, so I believe she added that nickname to justify Grey’s horrible attitude towards her.

Overall, this book is just horrible. The prose is sloppy and bloated, it is clear that James abused a thesaurus to make us think she has learnings. I hate Christian Grey with a passion as he is just a vile human being. He is so much worse in this book, he is a petulant, abusive a***hole who uses the guise of BDSM to humiliate and abuse women. This is deeply offensive to the BDSM community where trust, consent and respect are paramount. When it comes to Ana, as much as Grey tries to tell me that she is just oh so intelligent and wonderful it just doesn’t work. She is still just as stupid and no amount of bloated and flowery prose will convince me. If you fancy being enraged, then go ahead and read this book. Just don’t buy it new as we don’t need to fund James who honestly thinks this is a great love story and that Christian Grey is the greatest man ever. Now I’m going to read Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined as like I said I am a literary masochist and then I will most likely rip it to shreds. I think I may need wine.