Book Bums workshop past. That's me at the head of the table.

For two hours, authors will ask each other three questions from the comfort and safety of the space where we create.

What have you worked on and/or learned in the past year?

What do you need help with on your current project?

What are you looking to tackle next year?

I’m ready with the answers and some questions of my own.

My struggle with point of view continues. The simplest explanation – first person “I”, second person “you” and third person “he/she/they” – defines the guidelines but doesn’t tell me why or which point of view to use in my story.

So I ask my characters – whose story is this? Does anyone else do this?

When a chorus of voices replies, I tell the story in third person. A main character can stand out. Or the perspective may change among a cast of characters. As the author I am the narrator.

But if one voice shouts “this is MY story!”, then I write it in first person through the eyes and experience of one character. Trying to force a first person story in a main character or “fly on the wall” narrative can wring the fun out of writing it. I always go with the story the way it is coming to me, even if that means bending the POV rules. As long as the reader can follow the story, it’s all good. I use conventions like chapter or section breaks with the character’s name to smooth the obvious transitions and keep the story on track.

I’m curious to know when other writers type The End. The outline has been followed. The sequence of scenes is complete. But there’s that niggling feeling to write one more thing.

Did I start the story in the wrong time and place? Or is there more of the story to tell? Genre and a standalone versus series novel could answer this question. How does the story need to end? Is it the happily-ever-after or happy-for-now the reader expects in romance? Or a teaser-tottering question left unanswered, a wrong not righted, or a cliff-hanger to keep the reader coming back for more?

I’m looking forward to a lively virtual discussion with my fellow Book Bums.