Thursday, July 31, 2008

Point of View

Right up front, the reader sees that the book is written in the first person. The opening sentence says, "Later, the homeless kid Ben told us how Ian Kearney fell from the Kearney Music School's Balcony." At the end of the first chapter, Will explains what he knew at the time. This is 1st person. I like 1st person because it puts you right in the mind of the main character. But it's a bit confining, for reasons explained below, so I add the retrospective part which helps me to break out of the confinement.

Laurel Yourke defiines point of view as: "The perspective (1st, 2nd, 3rd) used to convey the events of the plot." see Take Your Characters to Dinner. Lanham, NY: University Press of America, 2000, p. 201.

Initially, I wrote the whole thing in 3rd person [i.e., "He saw the truck rolling down the hill.]. This allows you to be in an out of the main character's mind, but it put the reader farther from the action. I changed it to 1st person [i.e., "I saw the truck rolling down the hill."]. Every event is filtered through the main character's eyes and the reader can't learn anything that the main character doesn't know. Some writers get around this by using a variety of points of view. This can be really cool, but the writer has to be skillful to pull it off and can easily mess up. I added the retrospective part by putting the action in the past. That way you can still get into Will's mind, but you can also learn things he didn't know at the time, but he found out later. He can say, "At the time,..., but I learned later that." I think it can be really cool. But changing point of view in midstream is a daunting task because the writer has to rethink everything.

Writing and publishing is an entrepreneurial activity. For my entrepreneurship course, check my blog,; for my thoughts on entrepreneurial real estate, go to


Ian Kearney, the director of the Kearney Music School, an elite musical training school in Philadelphia, dies after a fall from a balcony during a recital. World-famous cellist, Henry Harrier, recently forced from the faculty, returns to investigate Ian's death when his prized former student is arrested. Henry shows through his brilliant and single-minded pursuit of the truth that, as usual, they have it all wrong. This Sherlock Holmes-type mystery leads the reader through the world of classical music and lays bare the conflicts which dominate the lives of talented adolescents when placed under the pressure of studying for a demanding, stressful, and often elusive career as a classical music performer. Henry Harrier is part John Le Carre's George Smiley, part Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes, and part Orlando Cole the beloved teacher, renowned chamber musician, and until his own retirement, the premier cellist of the Curtis Institute.

Author Profile:

Tim was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, on January 30, 1946. In 1951 he moved with his family to Schenectady, New York, where he lived through high school. He attended Baldwin-Wallace College, Berea, Ohio, from 1964 to 1968. He graduated in 1968 with a B.A. in history and philosophy. He received his Ph. D. in history in U.S. history in 1980 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison after spending 2.5 years in the U. S. Army. Most of his army service was completed in Wuerzburg, Germany, from 1969-1971. In 1972 he returned to Madison to complete his doctoral study. His dissertation, Those Who Moved; Internal Migrants in American 1607-1840, combined the statistical analysis of genealogical and biographical data with the study of traditional literary diaries, letters, and journals.

Tim was a market and survey research consultant from 1983 to 2000 and a smoking cessation researcher from 2000 to 2003. His consulting practice focused primarily on conducting community health needs assessment. He authored hundreds of market research reports and published a number of his assessments in Community Health Needs Assessment published by McGraw Hill in 1996 and in a revised volume published in 1999. In 2000 he joined the staff of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he conducted smoking cessation research. He published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and spoke at national smoking cessation conferences.

In 2003 he moved to Philadelphia and earned his real estate license. He now practices real estate, works on publishing his novels, and studies and teaches entrepreneurship.Tim has written a dozen novel-length stories, a volume of short stories, and about a 3-foot stack of pages poetry. He is currently working on earning his 4th million in real estate sales, publishing his novels, and working on an entrepreneurish handbook as a support for his students.

Tim is a trained violist and an experienced string quartet player. He is an avid listener to classical music and regularly attends classical music concerts. He has two grown children by his first wife and a stepdaughter with his second wife. He likes to cook, read, write, entertain, develop relationships, and help other people. Formerly Tim used to travel frequently. He doesn't so much anymore. Now he regards the combination of real estate practice, writing and publishing, and the teaching and studying of entrepreneurship as enough of a trip.