Monday, February 13, 2017

Audacity Jones Steals the Show: Review, ARC Giveaway, and a Mini-Lesson on POV

Congratulations to Sandra Warren for winning Augusta Scattergood's book, MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG.

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Here's the question:


On a multiple choice test, which would you choose?

a. Kirby Larson's newest book, Audacity Jones Steals the Show (Scholastic, 2017), is about an eleven-year-old girl ("Audie to her friends") who makes an elephant disappear.

b. Audacity Jones is about Cypher, who in his new job with the Pinkerton Detective Agency, is charged with the duty of keeping an eye on Theo Quinn. 

c. Audacity Jones is about a young scientist, Theo Quinn, who provides Houdini with the necessary illusions to cause a seven-foot elephant to vanish. 

d. Audacity Jones is about Harry Houdini's newest and most fantastic trick ever.  

e. Audacity Jones is about Min; a persistent, smart chocolate-striped puss, who speaks Dog, learns to speak Elephant, and refuses to let her girl out of her sight. 

f. Audacity Jones is about the fraud Oberon who thinks he can use Theo Quinn to outwit Mr. Harry Houdini and become the world's greatest magician in his place. 

g. All of the above.


Third Person Omniscient POV


The answer is probably obvious, but I gave you these glimpses into this story for a reason. Although Audi is the heroine, Kirby Larson uses third person omniscient point-of-view to show readers what these important secondary characters think and want.

The interplay between these characters moves the story forward at a fast pace. Since this device is not seen in too many contemporary books (and generally advised against, particularly for new writers), I asked Kirby what prompted her to write Audacity Jones in this manner. 

She said, "I do not have any fancy names or explanations for the method I used in writing this book. I was aiming for an old-fashioned storytelling feel, thus the moments of omniscient narration; I also chose to break the “fourth wall” by speaking directly to the reader on a few occasions (a nod to Jane Austen). And I do know that we writers of books for children are advised not to use multiple viewpoints, etc., but honestly that is how I felt the story needed to be told. And I am lucky enough that my editor and publisher supported my choice, no matter how many “rules” there are against it!" 

A recent Writer's Digest article, "Why Point of View is So Important" by Joseph Bates, concludes: "Oftentimes we don't really choose a POV for our project; our project chooses a POV for us...Often stories tell us how they should be told--and once you find the right POV for yours, you'll likely realize the story couldn't have been told any other way."


Min's Voice


As I think you'll see from this scene from STEALS THE SHOW, that's exactly what Kirby Larson has done. This is from the POV of Min, one of my favorite characters. In this scene, she has snuck on board a train bound for New York City, for "Where the girl went, so did she." (p. 15)
Despite her abilities and intuitions, Min was stymied by the cargo put aboard at the most recent stop. More cage than crate, it took six men to load it into the baggage car. The creature inside was ten times greater than the heft of both Corgis combined and a thousand times more intelligent than the chickens. Min struggled to interpret the new creature's language, reminiscent of Bison, with a hint of Eagle. It didn't help that the language--or perhaps it was the speaker; Min hadn't worked that out yet--was rather nasal in tone. Min had worked out that the creature was either named Punk or was a punk; at least that's what the men had called it. By its limited vocabulary, she had also surmised it was not full-grown. It smelled of hay and apples and something else: The young thing reeked of sorrow. Once the cage had been situated in the baggage car, that smell did more to keep Min awake than all the clucking of those flibbertigibbet hens.
Early on, Min had learned how to comfort little Audie during lonely nights. Min hesitated: Would this baby, huge as it was, also welcome such comforting? If Punk stepped on her, then farewell to one of Min's remaining lives. Yet, she could not bear the creature's melancholy any longer. She padded close, straw shifting and scratching under her paws, to rub her scent against the metal bars of Punk's crate. After a few moments, the creature slowed it's rocking. Made a snuffling noise. Min waited, not a muscle twitching. Then something stroked her back through the bars. It was Punk's curious appendage, the one that hung from between his eyes. If it was Punk's nose, it was the most ridiculous nose that Mind had ever seen on an animal, but she kept that to herself. Hard enough for this baby to be alone; no need to rub salt in the wound by pointing out how homely he was. But then truthfully, what animal compares to a cat?
"Moww-rr?" Min inquired, paw poised in midair. 
Punk snuffled again. Puffs of warm air from his long appendage blew tracks in Min's chocolate-striped fur. Min took this as permission and eased slowly between the bars, into the cage, a cage too small for Punk to do anything but stand. She pressed against Punk's front leg and he stopped rocking altogether. Then he slowly eased his solid self into a lean agains the metal bars. Min leapt to a spot at the back of Punk's flat head, between ears as big as boat sails. Turning once, twice, three times, she settled herself, purring. Though Punk could not lie down, Min felt him relax.
Min locked at the leathery skin beneath her. It was dry. Punk needed water. Needed rest. Needed...
He said something.
Punk said something. And Min understood.
Thank you, he said. Thank you, friend (p.39-41. Used with permission.)

Giveaway and Resources


I have an autographed ARC to send to one of you. If you share this on social media or become a new follower of my blog, I'll enter your name twice. Just be sure to leave me your email address if you are new to my blog and tell me what you have done. Giveaway ends on February 17. Kirby is donating a portion of her royalties to The Elephant Sanctuary.

For other resources on using the third person omniscient POV see:

Third Person Omniscient vs. Third Person Limited  by Nathan Bransford

How to Write in Third Person Omniscient POV by Brian Davis. Brian gives good examples of "head-hopping" (which is NOT what Kirby has done) and subjective vs. objective omniscient. 

Whose Head is it Anyway? by Janice Hardy.

Immersive POV by Donald Maas. Not specifically on third person POV, but excellent article. (Aren't all articles by Maas eye-opening?)  

10 comments:

Connie said...

Very interesting interview and discussion of POV. I have shared this on Twitter.
https://twitter.com/cps1950/status/831164163753988096
Thank you!
Connie
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in twice, Connie. thanks for being such a faithful blog follower!

Rosi said...

I haven't read a Kirby Larsen book in a couple of years. What a treat to know there is a new one out. I love the title and can't wait to read this one. It's so rare to find a book written with an omniscient point of view. Thanks for telling me about this and for the mini-lesson. I shared on Facebook.

Carol Baldwin said...

Glad you enjoyed the post, Rosi. You're in twice!

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carol,
Thanks for sharing the interesting way that Kirby Larson used in Audacity Jones. It's clever the way she used the omniscient POV.

I love Houdini's story. I'm sure I'd love Audacity Jones!

Never Give Up
Joan

Carol Baldwin said...

It's a very clever book, Joan. You and your grandchildren would enjoy it. YOu're in twice since you shared it on FB!

Deborah Allmand said...

Kirby Larson is a great storyteller. I love this premise. Great idea about giving proceeds to a sanctuary.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Deb. You're in--and boy, were you up early this morning!

Linda A. said...

I missed the giveaway but I'm glad I didn't miss this post. Very interesting! I loved the segment you shared. Well done, Kirby and Carol. Thanks!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Linda. Yes, Min is quite a character and Kirby is quite a writer! Thanks for stopping by.