Friday Fiction - Limiting My View Point

I've re-written the first chapter of my novel so many times that I've lost count, but I know it's so very important. The first impression will pull in the reader or turn him away.

I was advised to work on the point-of-view, to tell the story from one character's viewpoint. Some scenes are easy because there might be only one or two characters involved, but the first chapter has four characters. I need to introduce each of them to the reader through one point-of-view. Also, the main character does not know English at this time. What a challenge!

Here is a snippet -
What do you think? (Any advice is appreciated!)
(Sorry, I can't get the italics to show.)


Madgi---I am madgi.

An icy blast of wind stung Maseppequa's face. She leaned her forehead against the back of the man. His coat smelled of sweat and dead animals. The stench made her stomach cramp.

The man called himself Pete and claimed to be her father, but Maseppequa had not known him before the last new moon. She squeezed her eyes against the tears and clutched her leather bag close to her chest. It was all she had left.


Maseppequa and the man had been riding for five days. Her limp legs hung like stiff dried venison. She couldn’t feel her toes. The horse plodded through the wind and drifting snow.

Cold… so cold…Mother’s skin was cold…

They paused at the end of a trail lined with naked trees. The man nudged the horse toward a light in the window. He rode around to the back of the house out of the wind and slid off. Maseppequa tumbled to the ground and lay in a heap. The man reached for her.

"Pizan!" Maseppequa swung an arm at him and tried to scramble away, but collapsed exhausted in the icy slush. She closed her eyes. tired. She let herself go limp as the man picked her up in his arms. She heard the snow crunch beneath his feet.

Hefting Maseppequa a little higher, he kicked at the door and waited. Maseppequa squinted through her lashes. A curtain shifted, and a young woman’s face appeared at the window. Soon the door swung open.

The woman spoke, but her words were lost in the swirl of snowflakes. Once the man stepped into the warm kitchen, Maseppequa wriggled out of his arms and crumpled into a ball on the floor.

The woman shut the door. The wind stopped.

Maseppequa could still hear it roaring in her ears. The air was hot. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the different light. A fire flickered in a glass container on the table. It made shadows sway on the walls and ceiling. She scooted behind the big black box that made the room hot.

Maseppequa did not understand the woman's strange words, but the Pete man did. He removed his hat and scrunched the leather rim in his raw hands. His yellow hair hung like twisted ropes. The hair on his face was covered with frost -mustache and beard and eyebrows all blended together.

The man glanced at Maseppequa. His blue eyes pierced into her soul.

He have eyes like me. I am abitawizi. I am not Algonkin. I am not white...I am madgi.

As the Pete man and woman talked, Maseppequa studied their faces, but couldn't tell what her fate would be. The woman's skin was as white as a water lily. She motioned toward the window. The man put on his hat and went outside. He slammed the door hard against the wind.

Maseppequa's head jerked up! Trapped! Her heart beat like a rabbit’s. The woman reached out to touch her. Pizan! Maseppequa pressed herself against the wall.

Do not look at me! Do not look at my eyes!

Maseppequa buried her face in the soft leather bag in her arms. It smelled of wood smoke and river grass. Even though the black box was hot, she shivered. Her toes and fingers tingled and ached. She heard the woman walk away and then return. Even when the woman draped a blanket around her back and shoulders, she did not lift her face.

The woman walked across the room. Maseppequa heard a strange squeaking sound and lifted her head. She watched the woman pump water into a metal pot and put it on the hot black box. Maseppequa saw her rounded belly beneath the folds of her dress. Their eyes met, and Maseppequa turned away.

The door burst open with a flurry of flakes. A tall man and the Pete man stomped snow from their boots as they entered. The tall man hung their hats and coats on pegs in the wall. He put his arm around the Pete man's shoulders and laughed. His voice sounded like the Pete man's words.

He be of same tribe.

Pete held his hands over the heat and jerked his chin toward Maseppequa. A sprinkle of frost sizzled and danced on the hot black box.

The tall man glanced at Maseppequa as he took a log from a box near her. She pulled the blanket closer around her shoulders and ducked her head, but stole peeks at this new man with the shiny hair and bright twinkling eyes. He put the wood in the black box, which clanked and clattered when he closed the lid on the fire.

He grabbed two more logs from the wood box and went into the next room. Pete clomped after him. His voice was loud, like it wasn’t used to being indoors.

The tall man returned to the kitchen, brushing sawdust from his clothes. Both men chuckled, and their laughter rumbled around the kitchen like thunder.

~ ~ ~

For more great stories,

1 comment:

Sarah Elisabeth said...

Nice! I totally agree this should be done from a single POV. I feel I was able to get a good handle on the MC's emotions. We experience the same fear and confusion she's going through at the moment from not understanding english. If you do need to incorporate dialogue, you can have a scene break and switch to another's POV here. Though I would stay in the MC's just a little longer before switching.

Nice writing!


Related Posts with Thumbnails