Sunday, January 11, 2015

SiWC 2014 Workshop #2 POV, Choices, Choices

POV, Choices, Choices
Susanna Kearsley

‘the writer is starting the story, the reader finishes it’ - the reader fills in so many details on their own

1st POV - ‘I did this, I did that’
traditional - gather around and I’ll tell you a story…
close, in one person’s head (usually)

3rd POV - ‘He did that, he said that’
still traditional, but more used in fairy tales, greek myths

Use whatever POV that fits the story the best, no right or wrong. You can be effective either way, have equal emotional connection/accessibility for 1st or 3rd.

Try to figure out whose story it is - main protagonist, or someone close to them? (The Great Gatsby is a good example)
Sometimes the best way to show the protagonist is through the eyes of another character
Sometimes you lose out in 1st person because it limits what the reader knows because of what the character knows - like, in mysteries close 3rd usually works better

Things they personally see themselves, or reads

Things they hear themselves (things someone tells them, or they overheard - if they overhear, make it logical because most people won’t deliberately listen at a door unless they’re not a great person)

Whether their 1st or 3rd, your narrator is going to have their own blind spots, things they don’t notice are important until later. Things they assume/etc as well based on their knowledge/experience, and things they are unaware of - would never notice/think about. So don’t harp on things in the past, or in a different culture that we, today/here, think are dirty/wrong/etc

Things that are going to affect POV: age, gender/sex, culture, socio-economical, family background (men more protective, notice things like doors locked, stove burners turned off, etc)
“Schrodinger’s Rapist” - article online - Google search

Head-hopping - flipping back and forth between POV character heads in a way it’s confusing for a reader, for example, don’t do it within the same paragraph. Don’t want the reader to have to stop to figure out who’s talking.

Can alternate sections, even better to switch between 1st & 3rd so it’s really clear who’s head it’s in and have different ‘voices’. Have line breaks (***) to make it easy on the reader of Roman numerals for ‘past’ and regular numbers as ‘present’ if historically alternating, or list the date or something like that to distinguish sections.

Showing the character through someone else’s viewpoint (example from ‘Every Secret Thing’, a character trying to ‘see’/find the driver who hit someone in a hit-and-fun)

Added emotional resonance
Jim didn’t know what Deacon said, Georgie did
Get a fuller picture of what’s going on, another level/angle
Both were in 3rd pov close.

When you’re in a close pov, you are surmising what the other person is thinking, but there are tricks to get it across, like by showing the other character’s expressions/actions/etc

You can use the character’s past experience, like you know when your mother says/ does a certain thing, she’s upset/etc.

Where a character looks up/looks down, holding out a hand to help one person but not  another, and whether that other person takes or doesn’t take it

‘Gone Girl’, ‘The Murder of Roger Ackeroid’, both great examples of unreliable narrators. Very useful as someone telling something to your MC - make them seem trustworthy, buried in deeply, but in the end turns out not. Could also may have it right or may have it wrong, as in they themselves aren’t sure, like if they were drunk. Usually an unreliable narrator is used to lead the reader away from the answer, especially in mystery genre.
*** ‘book ‘Bedtime story’ - for Josh (Robert Weirsma sp?) - boy in a coma/dream state

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