Sinus headaches aren’t my friends

I know I owe a post but it isn’t going to happen until the head stops pounding so badly I want to chop it off. So here is your chance to give me some ideas about what to write about. I’ll check back in later and, hopefully, feel well enough to post.



  1. The druggist snickered when I slipped up yesterday and told a lady to go ahead in line to get her perscription because “I need to sign the poison log” for generic Sudafed (TM). When you can’t bend over to tie your shoes because of sinuses, it’s time to get meds.

      1. People seem so confused at times. It’s like they don’t know they’re in an animated cartoon. What, I’m not? Aw come on, haven’t you looked at the news this year?

  2. None of that decapitation talk. Feel better.
    A topic I am always interested in is point of view. I’m re-reading Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe’s Rifles books right now, and he engages in what, if it were done poorly, would be called head hopping, but, since it’s seamless, might be called the omniscient point of view. I would love to know if there is a trick to this. Georgette Heyer does it successfully as well.

    When I say trick, I probably mean “technique.” We’re in a scene from Sharpe’s POV. I know what he’s thinking and feeling because the author tells me, not just because his lips quirk or he clenches his fists. Then, in the same scene, we wind up in the nasty sargeant’s head, and I sure as heck know that he hates Sharpe. There are no asterisks. There is no new chapter. But it doesn’t feel disjointed or confusing.

    One technique I think I’m seeing is that as we switch POV, the new POVee does something visible from the outside (e.g., wipes his forehead or the like), and then we sink into his head. Does anyone know if that’s why it works?

    Cornwell doesn’t hop back and forth each paragraph, but I’ve seen two POVs regularly, and perhaps three, in one scene. But it works. The question is: how?

    1. Look at some of the storytelling styles, the verbal ones. Then make the ‘narrator’ more subtle. That seems to be the technique I’ve seen work most.

      1. “there were tears in her eyes, but he (our POV character) didn’t see them.”
        So many discussions of anti-head-hopping seem to suggest that the above sentence wouldn’t be ok, because if we’re seeing the story through one person’s eyes, he wouldn’t see the tears. This just about limits 3d person to all the strictures attendant on first person.

        1. *nods* Third person is designed to get in details like that. And you don’t even have to break a third person close for that observation. A lot of people forget the invisible party in all third person stories: The Narrator. Who, by and large, knows more than he’s telling or ought to.

          1. Ok, now we’re getting somewhere.
            A friend told me once that her writing instructor said that she couldn’t say the coffee was hot for a non-POV character, because how would our POV guy know that? It would be ok to see steam coming off it, or for the non-POV to pull his head back sharply, but the heat of the coffee wasn’t something the POV would know otherwise. A lot of it is in the phrasing.
            Maybe as a matter of process, I have to avoid dropping too much into the POVs character’s head as I write.

            1. Sounds like your friend’s instructor hasn’t considered more than the tightest of the third person variants. Or was translating from first and hadn’t used third.

                1. There’s two third-person variants: third-person limited and third-person omniscient. Writing professors tend to discourage the latter because it can be a mess in the wrong hands, but it’s important to note that the former can be the NARRATOR as the third-person.

    1. We have MANLY colds, that’s why. ~:D

      This one is really manly, it’s been kicking my ass since last Monday. When you sleep sitting up because coughing, its a beauty. Codeine for the win!

      1. Codeine for the allergic reaction!

        How about writing characters that screw up because they aren’t thinking clearly? I mean, we’ve all done stupid because we were sick or grieving or drunk or having an allergic reaction. Things that would be out of character, and would, in a book, cause the reader to say ‘plot driving character’ or just wall the book. How do we convey to the reader that this is an abnormal action, especially if it is the precipitating incident and they haven’t yet seen normal character?

        1. That sounds tricky, because if you start the character with some sort of off-nominal behavior, you’ve “set” the character in the reader’s mind that way. First impressions and all of that.

        2. “Dang it, I canNOT do math right now!” She blinked her aching eyes and lamented the lack of caffeine.

          Something like that? Highlight that it’s out of character…

        3. Have supporting characters give the MC odd looks and question their action, perhaps tactfully, perhaps flat out “Is your head screwed on backwards this morning? What hole did you pull that stupid [thing] out of?” Probably won’t work for 1st person, though.

  3. You might want to tell the saga of how Witchfire Burning went from a vague nag from that muse in your head to a finished and well received book up on Amazon. Might be more than a single post I suspect.
    Sorry about the sinuses, drugs, saline irrigation, vaporizers, all can help or at least provide a bit of comfort, but mostly it’s a matter of this too shall pass.

  4. For sinus headache:
    Warm – not hot – cloth applied to forehead and/or face.
    Sometimes a warm cloth applied to the neck and base of skull can help.
    Something thick, hot, and spicy. Salmon and grits sprinkled to taste with black and cayenne pepper can give temporary relief.
    A hot shower sometimes helps as well.
    Get well soon.

  5. I would be very worried indeed about anyone who would consider a sinus headache to be a friend. The closest I can imagine just now is a migraine sufferer with a “Well, at least it’s not that.” sort of reaction.

  6. Well, lots of ideas above for the blogging, but for fiction? I want a shape changer in space. What does a werewolf do when he’s _on_ the moon?

      1. Ouch! Shape changing in a space suit would not work very well. And if he doesn’t have one, he’d better be in a dome. Vampires, on the other hand, don’t breath, so maybe they don’t need them.

    1. Hmm. Would the response be to the lunar day and night, or would it be to the full earth instead? While in wolf form and with a wolf mentality, would the werewolf try to remove the non-fitting and encumbering suit?

      1. Or perhaps after twenty years as a werewolf, having finally reached the moon, only to discover that the trigger is gone? And while there is an initial relief, soon the non-werewolf is remembering fondly the monthly shift, the hunts, the… and figuring out how to get back to the Earth, so that they can resume the life they love, as a werewolf?

        1. Check out Nick Polotta’s “Bureau 13: Full Moonster” for one take when the werewolf visits the lunar rocks exhibit.

  7. How about POV and characterisation? I’m thinking of two books I read by what seemed to be capable storytellers in which the main character was supposed to be a teenage boy, but was really a middle-aged (late) woman. The characters persona was consistent, and quite readable, but… not a 16-year-old boy. At all.

  8. Oddly, this reminded me of an article I remember reading ages ago in Writers Digest, where a columnist was talking about … I think it was three categories of columns? Use anytime, seasonal, and dated or current? Something like that. The point was that there were some articles you can write anytime and use anytime, and you should have a batch of those waiting for use when you need them. Seasonal ones were similar, but had something that tied them to a certain date or event (e,g, you can write a thanksgiving column anytime, but you need to wait for thanksgiving to use it. Similarly, obituaries typically are pre-written, but only used at a specific time). Then there are the meat-and-potatoes of columns, the ones written around a current event that need to be used soon or they go stale. I thought it was an interesting approach for columnists, and might be useful for bloggers (might need some adaptation?). Especially with so many folks trying to keep a blog going, you might write about it?

  9. Saline spray, very regularly.
    Having said that, it aways appeared to me that the discussion on the Baen forums was overfixated on a rigorous single PoV, when multiple PoV in a negotiation might be far more iteresting. On the other hand, in the (apparently/not finished yet) milSF/superhero I am currently reading, the author pops back and forth between third person and second person.

  10. While I’m thinking about it — a quick and easy column might be to pick a favorite writer or genre (subgenre?) and tell us what you really like about it? What makes them good to read/worth taking a look at/worth trying to imitate?

Comments are closed.