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Whose Voice Matters Most? #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #writetip #writing

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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Have you ever read a book and wondered if a supporting character should really be the one telling the story and not the one chosen for the book?

Secondly, I wonder how we writers should decide on a character and are we ever blind to one voice because this character resonates better to our own preference versus the success of a better storyteller closer to the mystery in the plot?

I’m not sure. What I do know is a great exercise I’m been using these past couple of days to really flush out the theme of my own book in a 5th or 6th draft. It’s helping me question my own choice.

In a post by the beginningwriter.com, the author states POV is “who’s eyes we see the action through, who’s head we’re inside of, and who’s feelings we experience as that character feels them.”

The author goes on to say, “This is why  it’s so important to choose the right POV character for your story. It will “determine what you tell, how you tell it and, often, even what the action means.”

As I’m working with 90 Days to Your Novel with my revisions, I have been experimenting with the following writing exercises:

1. I’ve chosen three characters from my story and I first wrote a quick scene illustrating a powerful emotion in spine tingling situations all on the same day of pivotal event which shakes up a sleepy seaside town and launches a mystery of why the captain did what he did and how he managed to disappear. This exercise taught me several things about the story. I learned what different clues each character noticed, the dejavu experiences in some and the separate unique reactions, body language cues and emotions spiraling out from this scene and character. I almost fell in love with another character’s version of the mystery and am now scratching my head. Can I drop it into the book somehow with the same impact? Again, I’m not sure but what else do I have to lose?

2. Then I took these three characters and I dropped them in the same scene per the exercise in Domet’s book on POV and character. One character experienced a life changing or mood altering paradigm. One character envied the change. Then the third character, make them natural to the situation.

3. Lastly, reflect on the differences. Write out a paragraph for each scene you review and ask these lovely questions from Domet:

  • Which perspective did you find the most natural?

  • Which perspective offers the most interesting vantage point?

  • If you started your novel today, which character would you pick to narrate the story?

Good luck with your writing. Next time I’ll let you know what I decided about my POV.

Final thought:

“You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective.”

~ Denis Waitley

Be at Odds with the Odds #IWSG

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Nicki Elson, Juneta Key, Tamara Narayan, and Patricia Lynne!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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The odds shouldn't scare you.

In the beginning, because there is always a beginning, in my little writer’s mind I wrote for me. I wrote to prove to myself I could form words and craft paragraphs and pages of word paintings. I wrote young fantasy dreams to feel important in my little fun worlds. I wrote for acceptance, adventure and to fly because what 7-year old wouldn’t want to be a bird and let the breeze carry you far above the ground where you could see it all and feel it all so differently?

This month’s IWSG question asks: What are your ultimate writing goals, and how have they changed over time (if at all)?

Elon Musk, a brilliant businessman has it right. I wish I had it as right as he does, but we are exactly where we are supposed to be. And today, yes,  my goals have dramatically shifted. Instead of hiding my words, I want to share my worlds with young people. Instead of fearing what other’s may think, I aim to get my novels off the ground and out there and welcome helpful feedback. One thing is still true, I’ll shoot for the sky and hope for the best. I’ll work for exactly where I want to be, selling my books, teaching young kids how to dream and believe, and to do.

Goals shift. We shift. I’ll never give up though and neither should you 🙂

 

Should We Write the Whole Truth? #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

***

When I wrote my first draft of my first novel, I went scene by scene, chapter by chapter. I wrote in a logical timeline, from Monday, Tuesday, not knowing how to get to Friday where I really wanted the conflict to begin. I had no idea there was this really cool technique called Narrative Summary, and used effectively and efficiently, may work better then walking a reader through the whole truth.

Ever told an event from your day word for word and managed to hold attention from start to finish? I’m not sure if this is possible. I admit, I’ve done it. I’ve also watched eyes wander away.

In writing, Narrative Summary is a great way to hold on to a reader’s attention with a great fast-forward bridge where the reader may not notice a skip over a course of hours, maybe days, and may also remain engrossed on the page without scanning.

So what is it, you might ask?

According to Quora, I found the perfect definition:

Narrative summary is possibly the most flexible of the various ways of presenting a story. Narrative summary doesn’t necessarily tie the author down to chronological order, the way dialog and dramatization do, nor does it require a focus on one particular aspect of the story, as description often does.

90 Day to Your Novel by Sarah Domet also states, “the narrator summarizes some events of the story for the reader, without showing the scene directly.”

Author Domet goes on to say, “you don’t have to show, in scene, how your character got from the end of chapter one to the beginning of chapter two by first getting a car, driving to the ferry, riding a ferry … then walking the rest of the way. But you will have to make clear to the reader that these changes took place.”

One of my favorite young adult books I’ve read this year and talked about multiple times is Panic, by Lauren Oliver. In one beautiful sentence Oliver transitions the reader from one Saturday to the next:

“Time tumbled, cascaded on, as though life had been set to fast-forward.”

Then she begins the next paragraph so perfectly, “Finally Saturday came, and she couldn’t avoid it anymore.”

I am so drawn in. I can see her panic, her nervous tension. And I want to read on and find out how she faces her worst fear in the next blind challenge against her peers.

One more example, you may ask?

A perfect one ends a chapter with a huge confrontational moment where our second POV main character Dodge is crushing on a girl and gives her a gift for her birthday. One he can’t afford. One he can’t stop thinking will finally show her he really cares. She’ll melt. She has to. Instead, she gives it right back and he’s so dejected he says the worst thing and they’re both sniffing back shadowed tears:

“Her eyes locked on his for a minute. He saw two dark holes, like wounds; then she whirled around and was gone.”

Thus, the chapter ends.

The next chapter begins with him home in his apartment, dreading his decision to head straight home the second he hears his mom call from the living room. To meet her new boy of the week. The father of a former classmate who had recently died. In the very game our two main characters are competing in. The entire scene is painted so we see Dodge’s awkward tension.

Oliver could have started the new chapter with the door in Dodge’s face, a slow walk down the hall, him shuffling down the steps to the street below, but she didn’t. We don’t need to watch a dejected walk of shame or the passing details of the city. Realistically, Dodge wouldn’t be paying attention to the city. Instead, Oliver shows us in the opening page of the new chapter with body language, dialogue, all the while, ramping up new conflict to peek our interest.

What can you do to try Narrative Summary?

Take out a scene you’ve stewed over. Maybe it doesn’t feel right. Maybe you’ve had comments from your beta readers, peers or editor how the action or conflict has dropped. Reread it. Seek places to summarize point A to B in a sentence. Notice the differences. Maybe try a new scene and write it out both ways. You might really like what you discover.

The living problem of ACT II Storytelling #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

***

  I don’t know many people who run into drama and maximal conflict with their arms wide-open, ready to face off with someone near and dear to them, ready to cut them off or curse them to infinity and beyond, excited about being alone because trust is something we no longer know.

  Welcome to the world of writing ACT II.

  In 90 Days to Your Novel, Sarah Domet states, in real life, we are “conflict adverse … We strive to stay out of trouble and make decisions to bring us as close as possible to our desired outcomes … unless seriously provoked.”

   I reread this page just yesterday. I reread it over and over because finally, I’ve been given permission to do a very hard thing for me, create tension, difficult tension, which might really hurt the characters we breathe life into.

  ACT I is the introduction to your character and the world. ACT II is what Domet calls “the story.”

  In the Hunger Games … ACT I shows us Katniss as a realistic survivor whose mission is to provide for her younger sister because her father is dead and her mother lost herself while grieving. Katniss has one trusted friend with the same survival mission. Life is as it is. Then suddenly she finds herself at the name drawing ceremony when a boy and girl will enter an Olympian style fight to the death. Her younger sister is selected. Shocked, Katniss volunteers to take her place. ACT II begins on the train on the way to capital where she’s exposed to her wildest fantasies of food, clothing and the comforts of what was once an unattainable lifestyle. Her perception of what she is has to change. She must become pretty and fake. She must make allies of people she may one day kill. Survival is not just about skill anymore, and can she play a different version of herself to survive for her sister against her internal nature?

  In Jane Eyre … Act I is all about a young ordinary orphan growing up devote to her christian faith and unwilling to compromise her internal character. Finally free of a hateful aunt and an orphanage, she takes a well respected position as a governess. ACT II is all about her conversations with a sour older patron of the home. Unexpectedly, she develops feelings for the patron. When she finds out he loves her too, she falls hard and her love challenges her internal strength and christian devotion where she must ultimately make the choice between her faith and her strength, or, the only love she’s ever known.

 

  How do we take away what our characters want the most?

  • According to 90 Days to Your Novel, the best place to start is a timeline of events between ACT 1 and ACT 2.
  • Note the plot points of wants and needs.
  • Ask yourself how you keep your character from getting what he or she truly wants along the way.
  • Ask yourself, What continues to keep her/him from getting it and how can I deepen the conflict? 
  • How does the character motive and wants contribute to the action into deeper conflict?
  • Lastly, what points are left to get him or her to the climax, when finally you are free of ACT II.

Remember, bad things happen to all of us. Bad things must happen to your beloved characters. So as you write through ACT II remember this: Don’t give your MC this deep want or desire. ACT III is the choice of this attainment.

Additional Sources:

https://stevenpressfield.com/2010/06/second-act-problems/

https://www.emwelsh.com/blog/writing-act-two

https://www.well-storied.com/blog/second-act?rq=act%20two