Writing Tips

This page is devoted to the craft of fiction writing. Some topics will include POV (point of view), scene development, backstories, subtext, and conflict. I share my own insights as well as blog posts and craft books to aid beginning writers in their journey. Anyone interested in grammar and composition can visit my grammar site called English is Killing Me.

 

POV

Beginning writers can struggle with POV (the narrative point of view of their stories). Many choose to write from a first-person point of view. Below is an example I created.

It was cold and dark on the quiet road just below my house. I was supposed to be in bed hours ago, but my curiosity about the old, abandoned house down the road kept me awake.

Here is a typical first-person narrative. Nothing wrong with person at all. It allows the reader to be in the head of the narrator and can create intimacy. However, unless a writers shifts POV, the writer is stuck only in the head of the narrator. The wonderfully talented Maggie Stiefvater does an excellent job of shifting first-person point of view in her YA novel The Scorpio Races.  This allows the reader to experience a story in a rounded, 360 degree fashion. Sometimes first-person narration can be a little claustrophobic because readers are trapped in the narrator’s head and must see the world of the story through his or her eyes and interpretations.

Let’s say you want to use the short example above in third person omniscient. This means you will need to give the person a name immediately. Also, you will be able to pull back from the action as desired to make comments on other characters or the setting. Below is a possibility.

It was cold and dark on the quiet road just below Jason’s house. He was supposed to be in bed hours ago, the his curiosity about the old, abandoned house down the road kept him awake. What Jason didn’t know was that his worst fear was about to come true. 

You can see how the last line pulls the reader out of the direct experience with Jason and allows for a larger view of the action in which the readers will know something the main character does not.

More later…….