Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Author and friend, Nancy Jardine, makes a welcome return...

... to the blog this week. Hello Nancy and thanks for being here and I believe you have some tips for us about writing using multiple points of view (POV)...

NJ  My first contemporary mystery, Monogamy Twist, was very basic – hero and heroine, with very minor secondary characters supporting the quirky Dickensian-style plot.  My first historical novel, The Beltane Choice, was similar though there were a couple of very strong secondary characters. However, in terms of POV across the novels there were only two each time. By the time I had gone through some gruelling rounds of edits for those two novels, I felt I had largely cracked the writing of different viewpoints.
Just after The Beltane Choice was published, a reviewer asked when the sequel would be published.  I was stunned! I hadn’t considered a sequel, or even a series for that matter.  However, I’d given secondary character Brennus of Garrigill a raw deal in The Beltane Choice.  He then became the focus of Books 2 and 3 of my Celtic Fervour Series since his story is a convoluted and fairly long one.  Across Books 2 and 3, Brennus is joined by two other main characters: fellow-Brigante Ineda; and an Ancient Roman officer named Gaius Livanus Valerius (Ineda’s captor).  Leila is a strong secondary character in Book 4, but I decided three POVs were enough to handle, so her part in the tale is told via the POV of Brennus.
As I wrote Books 2 and 3, I needed to come up with something that saved me from confusing the POVs.
Ø      One simple strategy was to use the common tactic of having one character’s POV last for a complete scene, or a complete chapter.
Ø      A second, and it’s probably not original – I used a different colour of font for each character throughout the typing of the manuscript.
Seeing each chapter in a particular colour also meant that when I minimised the pages to a 10% or 25% view, I could see how the balance of viewpoints was going across the whole story.
From that point forward, my manuscript writing life has been one of COLOUR. 
Agricola’s Bane, Book 4 of the series, is told across five different viewpoints. My Garrigill clan members Nith and Enya are balanced by the main character of General Agricola, Commander of the Roman legions.  Two other Garrigill clan members, Ruoridh and Beathan, play smaller though still main character roles.  I’ve used five different font colours in my manuscript which have hopefully kept me straight regarding the consistency of POV as I created the story.  I’m now eagerly awaiting editor feedback on how those five viewpoints have worked out.  Look out for Book 4 being published soon with Ocelot Press.
Book 5 is on the drawing table and will be the full story of Beathan.  He’ll be joined by other main characters, the number as yet, undecided.  What I can say is that Agricola will re-appear in Book 5, though his role will be less than in Book 4.  Those two will be joined by a mystery Garrigill clan member. Whatever the number of main characters, I’ll be using different font colours to keep my POV straight!
My POV tip is a simple one, but perhaps the readers of this post can suggest other useful techniques?

... about the author Nancy writes contemporary mysteries; historical fiction and time-travel historical adventure.  Her current historical focus is Roman Scotland, an engrossing pre-history era because her research depends highly on keeping abreast of recent archaeological findings.
A member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Scottish Association of Writers, the Federation of Writers Scotland and the Historical Novel Society, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.
She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband but life is never quiet or boring since her young grandchildren are her next-door neighbours.

You can follow Nancy on her Blog  her Website  Facebook  Time Travel Page  Twitter  and on  Goodreads   You can find her books Here



  1. Thank you for inviting me today, Angela. I hope my tip comes in useful to someone, and I'll pop back later to see if anyone has other tips to share.

  2. Many thanks for hosting me, Angela!