Point of View

Thanks to MonaLisa Foster, I recently picked up a book on POV. It has some interesting bits of fine-tuning, some of which I knew instinctively from enough reading, but hadn’t been able to put into words, like “your choice of POV influences the theme of the book. First person implicitly carries a theme of how a person views themselves vs. how the world views them, while third person examines a person’s place in their society and the world around them.”

Which is true, and explains something about the left turn at Albaquirky my WIP has taken.

You see, the Cinderella story with the retired gunny as fairy god-something is not sticking to romance tropes of one or two points of view, but has added a third in – her boss, Mikey. In fact, I can even see where I’m missing a scene in that third viewpoint right after the ball. Yes, that thumping you heard was me hitting my head against the desk.

Because it’s also about the importance of oil to a modern society, and about how rival nations will often fund terror groups to carry on proxy wars, and about fitting in to a new group, and…

“Well, look at that. She’s properly early, for once.” Manuel looked up at the vehicle lights swinging into the parking lot, then returned to snugging the straps down on his pack.

“Too early. You tell her fifteen minutes before go, and she shows up exactly fifteen minutes before go.” Mikey frowned, and squinted at the truck. It wasn’t her style, not with the amount of horsepower burbling under that hood, showing off speed and a flagrant disregard for tidy efficiency. The driver’s door slammed, and he relaxed as he ID’ed the man walking around the front bumper. The headlights lit up a Recon jacket and familiar red hair. “No proxies; she actually has to hike herself!”

Twitch’s laughter came back in the night, soft and low and wicked. “You couldn’t keep up, Keys.”

They embraced, pounding a greeting on each other’s backs. “Good to see you too, Twitch. Don’t tell me you’re inviting yourself along for a gear test.”

“Don’t tempt me. I’m giving you charge of my girl; you bring her back in one piece.” Above the gleaming grin, Twitch’s eyes were dead serious.

“I will.” Mikey nodded, and couldn’t resist yanking his chain. “Of course, if she decides you’re not so hot after all, I’ve got four fine studs to offer her, here…”

“Try it and I’ll kill you.” Twitch didn’t stop smiling for a moment, but Mikey knew he’d hit a sore spot. After a moment, Twitch made a hand motion of letting it go, and teased him right back. “Besides, you really want to recreate Vindho in your company?”

Mikey groaned, laughing. “Oh hell, no! He can stay the shining example of Don’t Be That Guy.” To the rest who hadn’t been there for that deployment, he explained. “Dude started boning one of the combat controllers. And then she found out he had another piece of ass on the side. And hell hath no fury…”

The groans that came back were heartfelt at the clusterf-ck that must have been. Twitch added with an acid edge, “Gave a whole new meaning to Danger Close, it did!”

Mikey shook his head, and changed subjects away from that particular memory. “Did you get her geared up?”

“I did. Given the sensor gear she’s packing, I went with ultralight on everything else. Most of it’s kit we’ve used, even if she hasn’t.” He stepped back, half-turning toward the truck, checking on the sleepy occupant struggling out of the racing harness in the passenger seat. “I got her a brace, but keep an eye on that ankle.”

“Two eyes, as often as I can spare them.” Mikey cracked his neck, and looked around the group. He’d already given the fraternization brief, and hadn’t been worried, but he wasn’t surprised that Twitch was clearly more at ease for having warned them off himself. None of them knew the man behind the joker’s smile well enough to know just how intent, and how vulnerable, his old teammate was on this one. Mikey gave him the serious reply he needed. “She’ll be fine. It’s a gear and rations test, and I’m pacing it just hard enough to get some of our chair-bound asses up and back into hiking shape. We’re going less than three hundred miles away, and that’s just so we can get enough altitude for hot days and cold nights. It’s not like I’m dragging her down to the Great Wastes for a shakedown.”

Twitch laughed, and grumbled softly, “Good. It takes months to get all the sand out after a training run there.” After a moment, he said, “Or bad. It’s not a close simulation.”

“Can’t, not with the timetable, the budget, and the need for secrecy. Since I’m doing this out of pocket, as a private company, I can’t just tap Recon’s black budget for petrol and training. It’s a lot more hardscrabble out here.”

That got a nod, and a change of subject. “What are you carrying?”

“This time out? Small arms and a couple carbines. Don’t want to scare the other hikers. When we get downrange, I’m working on bringing in a good long range rifle or two, because we’ll have the sight lines. Just a matter of getting them into the Fed without being tagged.”

“May have to pick up some when you get there.” Twitch dropped his voice, and said softly, “May not be enough, if you find what you’re looking for.”

“Hah. We should be so lucky! No, I’m going in quiet with the team, and we’ll get the ground mapped and a few tests run, and then get back here to start analyzing all the data and figuring out where to base the next expedition. Nobody’s ever lucky enough to find gold or oil on the first try. Don’t worry about it.” Mikey clapped him on the shoulder. “We’ll be done with the shakedown in a couple days, and then you won’t even notice she’s out and back with your training tempo. A couple weeks, and it’ll all be back to office normal.”

Twitch gave him a distinctly unhappy look. “I’m never that lucky.”


  1. You muse is a lunatic, and with my luck, hanging around here means mine is getting tips.

    Do want to read, of course.

  2. OTOH, some characters wouldn’t tell their stories, or would sound conceited telling them, or. . . .

  3. I’m most comfortable with a close third person . . . at least I think that’s what I write. I was never good at the nomenclature. Apart from that, when do we get the whole thing, eh? Cinderella in camo sounds more interesting with every hint and snippet.

    1. You get it when I’ve researched Rhodesian fireforces (blame LawDog and Peter), written the rest of it, sent it to military beta readers for the tactics, sent it to non-military betas for the character arcs, contacted the cover artist to start working on a cover idea, rewritten to feedback, sent it out for final check, copyedited. Copyedited again. Worked with cover artist on initial sketch feedback. Copyedited a third time, and then started the upload and possibly maybe hopefully print formatting (but probably not). Gotten the cover art, gotten keywords selected, and then, finally, after pressing publish, about 24-72 hours later when it’s up.

      ‘Cause I’m pantsing my way through, with breaks for research. Fortunately, I’d already researched magnetotellurics for a prior story that I didn’t finish, and I have researched the landscapes I’m going to throw readers by calling one name and importing from another, so I have a lot of the ecology already down. And the economics, well, some of that I already had worked out, so it’s not that difficult. If I can avoid having to research repairing diesel marine engines, that would be awesome, but we have to see if the pants take me where I think they will…

      1. If you can send me a mailing address, I have a couple of duplicate books on marine diesel engine repair and maintenence.
        John in Indy/ John Sage

  4. Hmmm, not quite where I was expecting the story to go… but it sure looks interesting. As far as “not being so lucky” goes, it sounds like a case of speak tenderly, you never know when you’ll have to eat your words. 🙂

  5. I remember quite liking Bright Lights, Big City back in the day, at first I thought in spite of, but now kind of think because of, the second person narrative. Just mentioning the “weird uncle” of narratives, since it is out there, and can occasionally be used to great effect. ‘Course the book itself was basically a novella as well. Probably over 80k words or so the novelty would have worn off at some point.

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