Today's feature is a guest post from author Lilly Avalon whose first New Adult book is releasing later this month and this is also the first time she has written in male POV.
Unexpected by Lilly Avalon
Ever had one of those days? Alina Lyons is having one. Everything keeps falling apart and going wrong. Just when she thinks it couldn't get worse, it does. After a case of mistaken identity and a broken heart, she finds herself questioning the things she thought she knew. She wonders who she can turn to or trust anymore.
An unlikely bond with her former best friend's ex, Ryan Wilcox, sends her life in a new direction. He offers her a place to stay while she gets her life back on track. His friendship is exactly what she's been missing—what she's been needing. Alina's never felt this alive. As time goes by, the dynamic of their relationship becomes more than either of them expected. A few innocent kisses could lead them in a new direction, but are they prepared for what's on the other side?
Only one way to find out.
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On Writing in Male POV
Last year when I first started writing Unexpected, it was originally going to be in Alina's point of view only. I've written all my stories from female POV since I started. The majority of the books I've read are told from a female protagonist's POV, so it was fresh and clear in my head. There was something missing from the story, though, so I had to set it aside. I didn't pinpoint it until more than half a year later after I finished my fourth published story. The reason why Unexpected wasn't working was because it needed to be told from Ryan's POV, too.
This was a surprising (and exciting) revelation for me. I've read several stories told in dual POV and always wanted to take a stab at it myself. My biggest fear? Making Ryan's voice sound believable. I hadn't dabbled in it before Unexpected, and after writing from the POV of my female characters for so long, I needed to adapt. I was also afraid of bouncing back and forth between Alina and Ryan, and whether I could handle two points of view at once.
I had several scenes already written from before (all of which were in Alina's POV) so I had a lot to sift through and change. When I got to Ryan's first chapter, I tapped into the inner workings of his head. "If I were in Ryan's shoes, how would I be reacting? What would I be thinking? What would be driving my reactions and thoughts?" My female protagonists have all had male love interests, so I'm aware of the body language and the dialogue. His thoughts, however, were a different story.
His whole first chapter was something I had to spend extra time on. As I wrote his inner monologue, I would have to stop and think for a moment: "Is this really what he's thinking about? Why would he be contemplating this?" There were a couple times I felt like Alina's POV was seeping through, so I had to delete words, sentences, and paragraphs because they weren't right. I pressed on, digging deeper into Ryan's psyche. And then he spoke. I felt like I was finally there--Ryan was letting me in and I could visualize him better than before.
I still doubted myself, though. I decided after writing four chapters (two in Alina's POV and two in Ryan's) that I would send them to a trusted writer friend to make sure I was on the right track. It felt like I was, but as a writer it's always good to get a second opinion. The point of view is a major aspect of the story--you need to nail it or the whole thing could fall apart. My friend read the chapters and told me that I was definitely on the right track. I was relieved to hear that.
As I progressed through the story, I could perceive Ryan's personality more and more. When I asked the right questions, he gave me the answers I needed. His motivation was key--discern the motivation and get a clear answer to his actions. He surprised me on more than one occasion, but in a good way. By the time I reached the end, it felt like Ryan was part of me.
When you're writing in a new perspective, especially one you've never written in before, it does take time to develop a knack for it. One thing I attribute the success of Ryan's POV to is reading. Go out of your way to read several books told in either dual POV or male POV. Pay close attention to the male characters. That alone goes a long way when it comes to writing it. And when you are writing it, definitely ask your character as many questions as you can. You'll get the answers, not always immediately, but you will.
Writing in male POV was an experience for me. It felt daunting at first, but my confidence built up the more I kept at it. You learn a lot more about your characters when you have more than one perspective. It was a great change of pace and it expanded my repertoire. It was absolutely worth the effort to give it a try. I ended up enjoying the challenge and I know that this won't be the last male POV I write.