Sunday, April 6, 2008

Painting, Pondering & POV

What does an author do on her weekend off? Scamper outside as quickly as I can . . . before my backside permanently conforms to the shape of my office chair. (Like I need one more thing to angst about before my class reunion this summer!) Seriously, though, fresh air, sunshine, nature . . . even pulling weeds is a nice break from squinting at a computer monitor for days on end.

I did exactly that this weekend in our GORGEOUS south central Texas weather. Planted a yellow esperanza bush, visited with neighbors over the fence, took in a concert in our townsquare with my handsome husband, had breakfast with friends after church . . . and spray painted three plastic Adirondack chairs that I've been proscratinating over since we moved from California nearly four years ago! Once blue, the sun-faded chairs would have been tossed out, except for two things: they're comfortable, and some fiend invented spray paint for plastic. Considering the man (woman) hours spent at this chair task, the gasoline it took to drive to Home Depot (three times), the cost of 6 cans of paint . . . no, I don't want to consider it.
I did it. I painted the chairs--a great, dark terra cotta color (not the green you see here). And I learned several things in the process:

1) red metal primer, though a really fabulous color, cannot be used as a topcoat (which necessitates another trip to Home Depot--and more cash for paint).

2) An index finger (then the other index finger, and finally both thumbs) gets really tired when you're spray painting for hours and hours.

3) If you drive to Home Depot a third time, you can buy a nifty gadget that clamps onto the can and keeps your fingers from becoming paralyzed. It only costs as much as a new chair.

4) The Texas Hill Country breezes make it tough to spray paint outside (first clue: your neighbor politely shouts, "looks like y'all are fighting a losing battle over there.")

5) Wearing gloves isn't good enough protection . . . it's possible for the inside of your nose to become terra cotta color. Along with your tennis shoes.

HOWEVER: For this goal-oriented author, the sense of completion--be it chapters or chairs--is very nice indeed. And as any writer will tell you, plotting is something we do 24/7, so though my hands were far from the keyboard, my mind was swirling with dialogue and pondering plot points. In fact, as I was turning the Adirondack chairs side to side and upside down, to paint the back of the legs, the insides of the slats, and all those angles . . . it reminded me about what writers call POV: points of view. The character whose eyes the reader "looks" through to see the story unfold.

Many times that is only one character--the hero or heroine; everything that happens is seen through her/his eyes. Often in romance, there are dual points of view: the hero AND the heroine. In THE HEALER'S HEART, I am using FOUR points of view. And I love it! It seems very . . . IMAX. And gives the story a well-rounded feel, since we have four characters with different reactions to similar events. For instance (only a smidgeon of a teaser here), in THE HEALER'S HEART, there is a scene in which a horrific accident occurs a few miles from Gold Rush Hospital. Each character reacts in a different way to the impending arrival of the Code 3 ambulance--a nurse who doubts her competency, a demanding doctor with outside stressors, the charge nurse who scrambles to keep her team together . . . and the accident victim, whose identity shocks them all. As author, I get to "play" all four parts--great fun!

So, all in all, a good weekend. Now I'm off to cook up a yummy dinner for my husband . . . and maybe even watch the sunset from those terra cotta chairs. Tomorrow . . . back to Gold Rush Hospital. Only two chapters left, folks!

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