Posts Tagged ‘scenes’

The Heart of POV

A while back, I posted on point of view (POV), a primer on what it’s all about and the basic navigation principles for mucking about with it. Read it here, and come back to this post, so you’ll have some grounding if POV trips you up sometimes.

As I said in that post, POV is about which characters’  heads you will enter in order to tell the story and how closely identified the narrator is with the POV. Thus if you’re using “I” to identify the person who is thinking, then the narrator is very immediate and you’re using the first person POV. If using “he/she,” you have stepped back a tiny bit in emotional distance and you’re using third person POV. (This does not diminish the emotional impact you can have. It’s the difference, say, between hearing a tale whispered in your ear or told around a campfire.) To me, there is a slightly voyeuristic aspect to the first person POV (using “I.”) It’s almost like reading a diary.

Note: when the third person POV ranges across several characters, sometimes it’s called the limited omniscient POV, meaning, really, the third person POV spread around.

The best point of view

Do you want your book to feel like a diary? Do you need more than one POV?  I dunno. There is no better or best POV. Look carefully at your favorite books, and those most similar to yours. What do readers expect? What is traditional and comforting to your core audience? And once you know that, ask yourself, what suits your story best regardless of custom? Read More…

The Mush Factor

I’m tilting at windmills here. I’m against chapters. I know you love ’em. Thus the tilting. Eventually we’ve got to make up tidy little chapters. But I’m against forming them too soon.

For me, the experience of writing a novel is a close-up encounter with packets of drama: scenes. Those of you who’ve been following this blog have heard me preach about writing in scenes. (Actions taking place in a specific time and place.) It helps you sustain narrative drive and reader interest.

So why are you writing in chapters?

It’s true that we end up writing in scenes anyway; everything happens in a specific time and place after all. You’re probably just chaining them together as you go: Chapter 6, with its three quick scenes. Then Chapter 7 with two . . .

Now here I am telling you to number each scene at the top of the page and do a hard return at the end of the scene. What difference does it make?

The mushy scene

Mush creeps in so easily. The protagonist sipping tea, walking up to the old house, all those finger-warm ups that are so useful when we sit down to write at 8 a.m., but which need to be cut later. Read More…

Writing in Scenes, Part 1

People shake their heads in bemused wonder. How do you get a novel written? How can it possibly be done, given how–well, long it is?

Getting pecked to death by a duck

If you think the answer is one page at a time, I’m going to try to convince you otherwise. One page at a time is daunting and relentless. And one page at a time drains the creative power of those longer, meaningful units of drama that will fire you up.

Scenes are miniature stories, compressed pieces of fiction that, brought together in a book, relate to each other. Aside from the fact that they are the inescapable building blocks of stories, they have the additional benefit of making a writing day manageable. Read More…