15 02, 2018

How to Show Love for an Elderly Pet

By |2018-02-13T16:15:48-06:00February 15th, 2018|Guest blogger|0 Comments

Today’s guest blogger is Brandon Butler, a dog lover and vet tech. Welcome back,  Brandon. In keeping with February’s emphasis on love he’s sharing tips on how to show love to an older pet.

All animals have a story and not all of them are happy. But if you have chosen to open up your home to an elderly dog or cat, you can give them a happy ending.

In all my years as a pet owner, I have found caring for aging animals particularly rewarding. They are not puppies, however, and require a little bit of TLC beyond an afternoon walk in the park.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before you open your home and heart to a pup (or kitten) past his prime:

Dogs and cats get cold, too.

“Both cats and dogs have slightly higher resting body temperatures than humans, so when it is colder outside make sure they have a blanket in their bed and an area to sleep in the sunlight during the day. Also be sure to dress your dog in booties and a sweater when taking them outside to potty, because extreme changes in temperature increase risk of illness.” That quote, taken from the Redfin website, sums it up quite nicely.

There is such a thing as dog flu – and it can be deadly to an older pet.

Older animals are more susceptible to illness, injuries, and infection. With the intensity of the current flu season, I’d like to point out that canine influenza is real and has many of the same symptoms as those currently floating around human hospitals. Sneezing, fatigue, and fever are all common. If you notice any of these symptoms in your elderly pet, call his or her veterinarian immediately. And it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, according to USA Today, dog flu isn’t seasonal.

You may have to get creative at dinnertime.

Like older humans (most of us anyway), an elderly pet may have a little less luster for life when it’s blustery and cold or hot and muggy out. PetMD suggest literally playing with your dog’s food to encourage them to eat and exercise. You can also help a food-motivated mutt stay mentally stimulated by packing his food in a treat dispenser that offers a tasty reward when he’s solved a puzzle.

Senior pets make great bedfellows.

Because older dogs are less destructive and usually less active, there are a great option if you like to sleep with your pet. Healthy Pets’ Dr. Becker notes that senior animals probably won’t chew your favorite shoes or “shred the handmade quilt your grandma gave you.”

And because they won’t run and play as often, older dogs are great at snuggling which, according to science, can actually help you reduce stress and anxiety.

While many people prefer to adopt a young puppy, there’s really no reason not to fall head over heels for an older dog. Despite popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

And though your years together may be few, the quality of those years will leave a lasting impact on your entire family.

16 11, 2017

Guest Author – Donna Schlachter

By |2017-11-14T13:50:26-06:00November 16th, 2017|Author Interview, Guest author, Guest blogger|3 Comments

Welcome fellow author Donna Schlachter. She’s visiting to tell us a little about herself and answer some questions about her two new releases, The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado and Christmas Under the Stars.

Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Home is in Denver with her husband, who is her first-line editor and biggest fan. A hybrid author, she publishes historical suspense under her own name and contemporary suspense as Leeann Betts. She’s also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction. Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management represents Donna.

And, here are her answers to the interview questions:

  1. How do you balance writing and everyday life?

It’s not easy. I have learned that with anything that’s important in my life, I have to make time. I will never find it. I am very goal oriented, so if I tell myself I have to write at least one chapter today before I can go on to something else, I do it. Check it off the list. Next thing.

  1. Do you listen to music to set the mood for writing?

I don’t listen to music because then I want to sing along, and those words mess with the ones in my head. If I go to a coffee shop—which is where I am as I write this—my mind keeps drifting back to the music playing in the background, and I try to make sense of the lyrics, which, in this case, is impossible. I like to “hear” the story—to me, writing with music is like going to a movie and trying to listen to a baseball game on the radio at the same time. 

  1. What was the spark that gave you the story idea for Christmas Under the Stars?

I ask a lot of “what if” questions, and the question that sparked this story was what if a man was attracted to a woman he thought was married? Then the challenge became how to keep that misinformation from being straightened out too soon in the story.

I had done a lot of research in Echo Canyon, Utah, for another book and loved the setting. There is actually a place in the canyon where early settlers gathered for church services at the base of the palisades. Once I stood in that spot, I knew I needed a story where they could hold a church service in that same spot.

  1. What will readers find appealing about The Mystery of Christmas Inn, Colorado?

I think readers will find the older characters appealing. So many of our reading population have elderly parents or are contemplating being caregivers to their parents. I wanted to show that just because our age increases, our abilities, our faculties, and our longing for love doesn’t decrease.

  1. What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on the seventh in a mystery series that is published under my pen name, Leeann Betts. Next up will be a month of working on some older manuscripts, and then I will begin in January writing a new novella for a romance collection coming out late 2018/early 2019 with Barbour Publishing.

If you want to get into the Christmas spirit, then add either of Donna’s two new books to your library. Just click on the book cover.

Matthew returns to Christmas Inn to celebrate his fortieth anniversary alone, intending to take his own life so he can join his beloved Sarah, who passed on to glory the previous January. Not certain how—or if—he will go on without her, Matthew learns on his arrival that the old inn will close its doors on New Year’s Eve. A developer has purchased the building and intends to tear it down and put up a chain hotel. Determined to keep his memories and his connection to Sarah alive, Matthew embarks on a harebrained scheme to keep the inn open.

Edith Cochrane, a widow, comes to Christmas Inn because she has nowhere else to spend the holidays. Her children are angry with her because she refuses to choose to live with one of them. Edith and her husband enjoyed a long marriage and a long mission-field ministry, but ever since his passing the previous year, Edith has found herself at loose ends. She comes to Christmas Inn to spend some time thinking about her options.

Can Matthew and Edith save the old hotel—and themselves—or will they run out of time?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

November 1858, Utah Territory
Edie Meredith strives to keep her temper and her tongue under control as she heads west with her brother to California. Raised in an itinerant preacher family, she promises she will never marry a man of the cloth.

Tom Aiken, drover of the wagon train, longs to answer his true calling: to preach, and while he realizes not every woman would choose a preacher for a husband, he hopes to soon find his help-meet.

Suspicious ‘accidents’ plague their journey. Is someone trying to keep them from reaching their destination? Or will misunderstanding and circumstances keep them apart?

Connect with Donna Online

Facebook * Twitter * Website * Blog

19 10, 2017

Embracing Change: How a Breakup or Divorce Can Help You Create Positive Habits

By |2017-10-05T09:08:26-05:00October 19th, 2017|Guest blogger|0 Comments

A Guest blog by Brandon Butler

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Changing jobs, getting divorced, having a baby, and moving to a new city are all major life changes. Some are planned; others are not. While some are happy experiences, others aren’t.

Regardless of the circumstances, major life transitions shake up your routine. Routines and habits go hand and hand, so take advantage of the shake-up, and change your life for the better.

A breakup or divorce often means having to move to a new place. You’re going to be single again, but don’t look at it as a negative. Take this time to learn to value your own company and alone time. Make a habit of making time for yourself, whether it’s doing yoga, exercising, meditating, or participating in your favorite hobby.

Not only are these activities good for your health, but the simple act of being alone can spark creativity, boost productivity, increase relaxation, and clear your mind. A blend of alone time and social time can actually help fight depression, and doing activities alone can be just as fun as doing them with others.

After your divorce, you’ll likely need to make new living arrangements. This is an intimidating situation, but you can make it more pleasant and use it as an opportunity to change your habits. When planning a move, choosing a location and a home size are the most important decisions and the best starting points.

Downsizing is common, and for many divorcees, it’s the perfect opportunity to go through your belongings and let go. Not only can you move forward from the relationship, but you can also work on becoming less cluttered, which can improve your overall energy and mood and make you feel more focused, optimistic, confident, and motivated.

Purging items that remind you of your ex may be liberating, but don’t be too hasty; items you detest when the divorce is fresh can serve as nostalgic memories later. When in doubt, place an item in storage instead of tossing it.

Moving requires planning, start by determining where you’ll move. The longer the move, the sooner you should start planning and the more help you’ll need. Arranging how to handle the move so it’s not as taxing as other decisions is important and fairly straightforward. Plan the logistics of packing, unpacking, transporting items, and arranging furniture.

A quick and simple move is important for your sanity and your children’s welfare, so consider hiring moving professionals to achieve this and to allow you to focus on supporting your children instead of focusing on moving logistics.

If you’ve been guilty of not focusing enough time on your children or not communicating well with them, change that now by keeping the doors of communication open—something with which many parents struggle.

Talk to them about what they want in the new home and take them with you to look at homes if they want to go. When you purge belongings, remember that items that don’t matter to you may be sentimental to your kids. If you don’t want to keep an item, but your child does, compromise and let the item stay in his or her room.

While getting a head start on moving is important, it’s also critical to keep the lives of your children as normal as possible during a divorce or move, so don’t get too ahead of yourself.

Divorce and moving are major transitions, but any big change can spark an opportunity to swap bad habits for positive ones. Whether you need to stop smoking, start recycling, improve your diet, or make a better effort of staying in touch with friends, a variation in your routine may be just what you need to get started.

However, be aware that the window of opportunity is limited to the first three months after the transition, so don’t wait too long to seize the opportunity.

7 09, 2017

11 Surprising Ways to Boost Creativity

By |2017-06-04T15:40:52-05:00September 7th, 2017|Guest blogger, writer, writing|1 Comment

Welcome returning guest blogger Jack Milgram. Jack blogs at Top-notch study tips for A+ students. Today he shares some ideas with us about how to boost your creativity. You can read his July blog for View from the Front Porch here.

11 Surprising Ways to Boost Creativity

For those who are engaged in creative professions, there’s no time to wait for inspiration. You should be able to turn your creative thinking on every time you start working.

To attract great ideas when they’re needed most, it’s essential to know some quick tips on how to boost creativity any time.

  1. Solve puzzles.

Imagination always relates to your brain’s productivity, and that’s why it’s essential to train it every day. Highly developed problem-solving skills will help you find new ways to approach different situations.

  1. Go for a walk.

We often forget to look around, while there are so many things there to inspire! Have you ever heard of biomimicry? It’s when designers or scientists find ideas in biological processes. Take a breath of fresh air and try to do the same thing.

  1. Read different genres.

What does it mean to be creative? It means being able to produce new ideas and apply them to various tasks. And where can you find more great ideas than in books? Be interested in all genres—fantasy, classics, romance, detectives, horror, and more.

  1. Turn off the lights.

Research shows that dimmed lighting helps people feel more free. In one experiment, this sense of freedom let the participants perform more creatively. The tip is—don’t try to work when the lights are too bright.

If you’re stuck and can’t start thinking outside the box, try some physical activity. A session of yoga or 20 minutes of jogging can enhance your imagination. This is a universal way to get inspired in a short time.

  1. Follow talented people online.

Almost every artist subscribes to blogs and galleries of other talented people. Just scrolling through your newsfeed on Instagram or Pinterest can inspire you to develop something entirely new. Keep up with those who share your hobby.

  1. Play music or doodle.

If you’re a writer, try painting. If you’re a musician, try to write a novel. Creativity is the ability to broaden your horizons, and you can do so by trying new activities.

  1. Try out some writing prompts.

There’s no opportunity to come up with new ideas when you’re stuck in the same old work routine. For example, if you write about motorcycles every day for half of the year, it’s no surprise that you’ve run out of ideas. What can you do? Try some prompts to boost creativity when writing.

  1. Spend time with friends.

Communication, especially with those who share our interests, is what makes us happy. And happiness increases our chances of thinking creatively. So, go to your friend’s place and watch a movie.

  1. List all your ideas.

Why does brainstorming help us with being creative? Because we don’t judge ourselves or set limitations. We just develop as many ideas as possible. The key thing here is to write all these ideas down. Such an approach helps you find the best solution to any problem.

Sometimes thinking too much can lead you to a dead end. Try to relax and demand nothing from yourself—and you’ll see just how many ideas come to mind when you aren’t concentrating on the topic.

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Visit Jack’s blog: custom-writing.org/blog

Connect with Jack:

Twitter:  @Jack__Milgram

Facebook:  Jack.Milgram

29 06, 2017

Creativity Innate or Learned

By |2017-06-04T15:19:10-05:00June 29th, 2017|Guest blogger, writing|2 Comments

Help me welcome guest blogger Jack Milgram. Jack is a blogger at Top-notch study tips for A+ students. Today he shares his ideas about creativity.

Creativity Innate or Learned

Creativity is a popular characteristic that you can spot on almost every resume. But what is it exactly? And are we born with this trait, or do we develop it?

From a young age, we’re assured that creativity is a talent you either have or don’t. What does creativity mean? It’s easy—if children can draw or play music, they’re creative; if not, well, they’re good at something else.

Kind of rough, isn’t it?

Now, as adults, we can see that almost everything depends on the effort and time we spend to learn a skill. And the same is true about creativity!

Creative thinking is a combination of effort, genetics, and social environment. But the point is this—if you haven’t found success with the last two, you can always still start developing  creativity.

Firstly, let’s talk about the creativity definition. Creativity is the ability to develop new ideas and solutions. But is it true that we are ever able to come up with fresh ideas?

Many specialists visualize creativity not as some chaotic, magical ritual but rather as a number of links between actual experiences.

What does that mean exactly?

It means that to develop something new, all you need to do is combine two or more existing ideas. This leads us to an important fact: the more experience you have, the more creative your ideas will be.

Just think about it—creative thinking isn’t applied to artistic activities only. It’s a significant skill for many professions. Every profession that is friendly to optimization demands that its employees be creative.

Imagine that you’re completing a PR task. This is definitely a creative profession—developing strategies, communicating with the media, organizing events, and so on. To develop a good advertisement, it isn’t enough to be a talented person.

So what do you think? Who has a better chance of success: an experienced specialist or just a creative person? For sure, it will be the specialist. And one of the reasons for this is simple—specialists know so many examples of beneficial strategies that they can combine ideas almost automatically.

So, if we can train creativity, how are we supposed to do it? There aren’t any muscles for creativeness.

Don’t worry—here are some easy tips you can use:

  • Don’t set limitations.

People can be creative only when there is enough freedom for it. Brainstorm without judging yourself or setting boundaries.

  • Start a notebook.

Every idea should be written down. This will help you remember them later and find ways for improvement.

  • Do what you love.

Research has shown that creativity increases with dopamine, the organic chemical responsible for the rewards center of the human brain. That means that the more motivation you have, the more ideas you can develop.

  • Fix your bad mood.

Creativity in business is a great thing. But you can only achieve it by being in a good mood. Don’t let yourself be pessimistic, and find enjoyment in the simple things.

  • Look around.

The outside world is full of interesting examples that you can use in your work. Meet friends, go for a walk, find some new hobbies, and so on. The most creative things you can find are already around you.

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Visit Jack’s blog: custom-writing.org/blog

Connect with Jack

Twitter:  @Jack__Milgram

Facebook:  Jack.Milgram

20 06, 2017

Storytime at the Villa Maria – Guest Author

By |2017-06-19T09:51:03-05:00June 20th, 2017|Guest blogger, writer|0 Comments

Today Constance Walker, a new friend and fellow writer, is joining me on the porch. Sunday we celebrated our fathers. I think you’ll find Constance’s answer to the frequently asked question about where authors get ideas for their stories a fitting honor to her father.

Welcome, Constance

I think the beginning of my newest novel, Storytime at the Villa Maria, came about when my Dad moved into a senior citizens’ facility.

I thought about all the memories, all the long-time friendships, the neighbors he knew so well, the familiar stores where he shopped, the sounds of the neighborhood … how do you say goodbye to all that?

How do you leave a house that has been “home” to all your dreams, your hopes and your fears? Where your every known emotion existed, where every celebration — whether a life or a death or a graduation or birthday, or a new job — mattered?

And how do you begin again when you’re in your golden years?

Next I played the “what if?” game – what if the central character didn’t want to move? How would that affect his children?

That evolved into thinking about the other seniors who lived in the building: They all would be about the same age – they all lived through the bad and good times of America. Many of the men and women were World War 2 veterans. And most importantly, all these people had memories. All these people had life stories to tell. What if they shared their storytelling as a way of bonding?

So, I dug back into my own remembrances of hot summer evenings and sitting on our front steps with family and friends and neighbors. I recalled listening to the senior adults as they talked – in everyday conversation — about their jobs, their families and friends, even the weather and how “really hot or cold it was a few years ago.”

They spoke about when they were kids or teens or young adults … when and where they went, their first jobs, politics, their favorite baseball teams, the music they danced to in the 1930’s and 1940’s, and just about all phases of nostalgia they wanted to share about their lives.

I put bits and pieces together, added my own thoughts and imagination and that was the beginning of the book I knew I wanted to write.

One more thing — about the characters in the novel — none of them are real — although, I must admit, I wish they were, because, in writing them, and I know this sounds strange, I absolutely loved them. But they are imagined composites of people I have known or met – or even just briefly seen, and they exist only in Storytime at the Villa Maria. I hope you like them.

Storytime at the Villa Maria

A charming novel of senior citizens, storytelling, nostalgia, and a world gone by but not forgotten.

Meet …
Dominick, who married “the most beautiful woman in the world”
Sophie, who is haunted by terrifying memories of the Holocaust
Ella, who made “sweet apple pies” for her war veteran husband
Tom, whose music lured women into his arms
Artie, who is plagued by the ghosts of long dead soldiers
Frank, who can’t let go of his yesterdays, though a better tomorrow beckons

Join them and others as they gather every Monday night in the library at the Villa Maria to share their memories, their fears, and their dreams.

Storytime at the Villa Maria is an unforgettable book about life lived and still to be lived, and about the mysterious threads of joy and heartache and love that are woven into every life—including your own!

Available from these retailers:

AMAZON Kindle

AMAZON Paperback

BARNES AND NOBLE Paperback

BARNES AND NOBLE Nook Book

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Constance Walker is the author of The Shimmering Stones of Winter’s Light, Lost Roses of Ganymede House, In Time, and Warm Winter Love among other works of Gothic and contemporary fiction.

Connect with her on

Goodreads

Facebook


Thanks so much for sharing, Constance. Storytime at the Villa Maria sounds like a wonderful read and a lovely tribute to your father.

8 06, 2017

How Pets Help People Cope With Mental Illness

By |2017-06-02T08:09:52-05:00June 8th, 2017|Guest blogger|1 Comment

Today I am hosting guest blogger Brandon Butler. Brandon is a dog lover and vet tech. He loves helping pet owners by sharing advice on Fur and Feathers.

After you read this blog, you’ll truly appreciate the benefits pets bring to our lives.

Photo via Pixabay by Foundry

A Guest Blog by Brandon Butler

Studies done on the human-animal bond and show many benefits for people with mental illness. Pet ownership or therapy sessions with animals can be an excellent alternative or supplement to medications. This method can cut back on the possibility of substance abuse by the mentally ill, who tend to be more susceptible to addiction due to the desire to self-medicate.

Dogs especially can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. They encourage playfulness and exercise and introduce joy and unconditional love to those in need.

Physical Benefits

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can play a major role in easing symptoms of PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, stress, autism, and other mental illnesses. Having a pet to care for helps people focus on getting out of bed and finding a purpose for their day.

Walking a dog is a daily routine that helps both the owner and the dog get exercise. Spending time with your pet solidifies the bond between the two of you, and getting outdoors can make your body feel better. Fresh air and sunshine are healthy and joy-inducing, and you may even have more positive social interaction by getting out of the house and meeting other pet owners along the way.

Try taking your dog to a dog park and see how contagious your dog’s happy social interactions can be. You will likely have some nice conversations with other dog owners while you are there.

Playing with and loving your pet will elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine which calm and relax. Having a pet can lower stress levels and anxiety, which in turn lowers blood pressure. Lowering blood pressure keeps you healthier, helps you avoid heart problems, and can add years to your life.

Mental Health Benefits

People struggling with mental health issues see their pets as the central support in their lives, and often, even over family and friends. A pet offers unconditional love on days when you are feeling good and on the days you are feeling terrible. They will never judge, and that can be a powerful support system when you need it.

Isolation (felt by many with mental illness) is alleviated by having a furry companion. The structure and routine of pet ownership can help the mentally ill not withdraw from society. Knowing that their pet needs and depends on them can also deter them from having suicidal thoughts.

There are many people who cannot or do not work due to their mental problems. Having a pet that they care for and treat well can also be a source of pride when they feel like they have nowhere else to contribute to society.

Ultimately, pets increase confidence, comfort, safety, and peace when dealing with mental health issues. They offer loyalty for life and could be just what those suffering from mental illness need.

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Great insights, Brandon. Thanks for sharing with us today.

4 05, 2017

Writing Myself Out of the Brink of Depression

By |2017-04-28T12:00:37-05:00May 4th, 2017|Guest blogger|0 Comments

Enjoy this very candid blog by guest blogger Danny Adams about how creative writing helped him defeat his depression.

SOURCE: www.pexels.com

Have you ever reached a point in your life when nothing seems to work? A point when nothing seems to make sense anymore. No better thing to do but sleep the whole day or watch TV to get the troubles out of your mind. Funds are running low, friends are nowhere to be found, family giving up on you, and you can’t seem to figure out how to snap out of it.

I once felt this way. I was on the brink of depression.Good thing I was quite aware of it but I don’t know what to do about it.

People around me would continuously give me pep talks. Colleagues suggested reading materials to help me get out feeling so low. I even tried incorporating it on my essay submissions when I was working at EssayHelp.

Nothing seemed to work, though. I was already considering seeing a shrink. Until one fine day, I did what I used to love doing – writing.

I created this character that is carefree and having the time of his life. Then he got into obstacles he had not encountered before. It became difficult for him to overcome the challenges he faced. I was writing freely and continuously. In a matter of a few hours, I had drafted a short story.

The character in the short story was a tad bit like me, but he has some traits that I could only aspire to. He’s adventurous, I was calculating.

He triumphed, and I was losing.

He was young, and I was past my prime.

Then it hit me, why should I limit myself with my traits? Can’t I become like that character in the story?

I continued with my writing, and as I did, matters in my own life were put into perspective. It was me separating myself from the situation and logically analyzing what else can be done revealed through the story I was writing. The issues in my own life became clearer. Fears, anxiety, and worries surfaced. I became aware of them. With this newfound clarity, I had something to work on to improve my state of being.

Creative writing became my therapy. I did not limit myself to short stories. I wrote essays and poems. With this, I had a clearer picture of my life. I was able to recognize the silver lining. I had more things to be thankful for.

With writing, my mood improved and the people around me sensed it. I welcomed help from friends and family. It was the start of putting the broken pieces of my life together again.

Since I regained a positive perspective, I became more hopeful with my work. I came up with better ideas to do my job better.

I eased my way out of the brink of depression through writing my heart out.

From then on, writing has become my outlet. I don’t just write when I go through rough times. I realized that writing about positive things in life result to even more positive things. By writing about happiness, I have a lot of reasons to be thankful.

With gratitude comes hope. Hope helps bring the best in me.

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Author BioDanny Adams is a proud alumnus of the University of Oregon with a degree in creative writing. With his writing finesse and knack for managing people, he co-founded EssayHelp. Some of his published articles are aimed towards helping and providing opportunities for freelance writers. If his busy schedule permits, Danny indulges in golf or hockey.

27 03, 2017

Who’s Telling Your Story?

By |2017-03-22T14:53:27-05:00March 27th, 2017|Guest blogger, Writer's Corner, Writing Craft|0 Comments

A Guest Blog

Today I’d like to introduce a writer friend, who also happens to be a fabulous teacher and excellent editor—Alicia Rasley. She’s going to offer advice on how writers can decide which character’s POV to use.

All fiction books are written from a particular character’s perspective (POV). As readers, you probably aren’t aware of POV specifics, but we writers can struggle with it. That’s why I invited Alicia to help.

Thanks, Judythe, for inviting me to guest blog!

I know I’m not the only writer kind of obsessed with point of view, so I thought I’d talk about one aspect of POV — which character should narrate a particular scene.

Often this is an easy decision, but if you’re having trouble making the scene as dramatic or deep as you want, consider changing the point-of-view character.

Now there is no RIGHT answer to which character point-of-view to choose for any scene. It will vary depending on many factors, including the author’s own natural POV approach and of course the events of the scene.

But here are a few questions to help guide you in the choice. Each of these questions emphasizes a different approach to the scene. One might lead to a more action-oriented scene. Another might lead to an emotionally dramatic scene.

Let’s use as an example a hanging in some foreign land, a public execution of a man (call him Tom), with his wife there near the gallows (call her Sue). Very dramatic scene!

Whose head should we be in?

POV Choice Questions

Which character is there right now at the scene?

It’s often better to go with the eyewitness rather than the one who just hears about it later– the TV cameraman at the execution, not the anchorman back at the studio.

Which character has the most at stake externally?

The one in physical danger maybe? That would probably be Tom, the condemned man, about to be hanged, of course.

Which character has the most at stake internally?

Sue, who is watching the hanging despairingly from the crowd, knowing that her baby (due in three weeks) will never know its daddy?

Who has the most intriguing perspective, or will narrate the event in the most entertaining way?

Maybe the hangman? Or maybe Sue isn’t so despairing… maybe she’s furious at Tom and will be glad when he’s dead? <G>

Who will change the most because of this event?

Maybe the judge who condemned the man, as the hanging draws closer, comes to regret his vengeful decision, and decides that he’s got to save Tom. The judge might be a good POV character because we can participate in this great change.

Who is going to have to make a big decision or take a great action during this scene?

If Sue is going to storm the gallows, seize a sword, and cut Tom down, she might be the best POV character (then again, I’d love to be in Tom’s head as she comes charging up the steps and aiming that sword towards his neck… <G>).

Whose goal drives the scene?

Maybe Tom has decided to make a great emotional speech and rally the onlookers to riot and save him. He’s the one with the goal– good POV choice.

Whose got a secret and do you want the reader to know?

If Tom is actually an undercover superhero who can burn the noose rope with his x-ray eyes and fly away, but wants first to implicate the judge who condemned him, so he stands there patiently waiting for the hangman… it depends on whether I want the reader to know what he’s planning or his secret powers.

Yes, I want the reader to know, so I put the scene in his POV, and concentrate on how hard he has to work to keep the secret secret.

Or no, I don’t want the reader to know: I want the reader to gradually suspect, along with – or before– Sue and/or the judge, that there’s something a bit off about this guy and the way he keeps aiming his intense gaze up at the rope…. that might mean staying OUT of his POV.

Who is telling all already through dialogue and action?

If Sue is being completely open and upfront about what she’s thinking and how she’s feeling, why bother to go into her head? The judge or Tom might be a better candidate for our “mind-reading” then.

You can see that this is not a checklist– any one of these is sufficient to make a choice, and some are obviously mutually exclusive.

But you can also see how many different ways there are to analyze the choice, and it all boils down to:

What effect do you want to have on the reader in this scene?

And whose POV will best create that effect?

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Bio: Alicia Rasley would rather write about writing than… well, write. Nonetheless, she has written many novels, including a best-selling family saga and a contemporary mystery novel.

She also wrote a handbook on the fictional element of point of view: The Power of Point of View. She teaches writing at a state university and in workshops around the country and online.

Her website has articles and posts about the craft of writing. Sign up for a writing newsletter and get 13 Prime Principles of Plot and other free plotting articles!

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