Does your story span generations, and do your characters go from youth to age in maturity or chronology? One way to accomplish this and emphasize their development is to grow your characters up by how they sound.
Typically, the closer the viewpoint
the deeper the writer is within a character’s thoughts and feelings. Thus, we’re
not always conscious of the age-appropriateness of the character’s voice as we
write. But once the first draft is done, we can go back and listen to how the character
sounds at the beginning versus the end of the story to see —and hear —how much
he or she has grown.
It’s also helpful to realize that each character will vary
in degree of development and/or devolution. To emphasize these changes, be deliberate
in revealing the maturation of your character’s voice throughout the story,
especially at pivotal points, such as when they achieve their dreams — or don’t.
This will also help support for the story’s pacing.
Do you have a character who
seems flat or stuck in a developmental rut? Listen to how he or she sounds at the
beginning versus the end of your story. There may be room for growth.
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Friday, April 14, 2017
Saturday, February 25, 2017
In today’s busy world, no less the world of fiction, writers are always looking to up the stakes for their stories and characters, yet there’s something to be said for moments of rest.
A moment of rest in a short story or novel is a moment where the writer gives the reader time to pause and reflect on an element of the story, a character or both. Such moments offer a deeper dive into an aspect of the work from within and give the reader time to better appreciate the read, especially when a lot is happening or when the characters are many or diverse.
So how are such moments created? One general principle is the use of detail: about the setting, a character or a point of plot. Such details — the slanting sunlight through a forest glade, the softness in a lover’s eyes or the rumble of thunder heard by a child awaiting a parent's return — actually give the reader's mind a rest, as one might pause and appreciate a moment of beauty.
Saturday, January 21, 2017
As with the light that comes through a stained glass window, there is prismatic artistry in showing varied viewpoints in a novel. But how does the writer know whether this multiplicity will benefit his or her work?
A good example of multiple points of view is Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin. Variegated views work well in McCann’s novel because of three key factors: topic, theme and scope.
The topic is New York City in the 1970s, its joys, sorrows, beauty and promise. While the theme reflects the spirit of a city and a nation in transition, it also includes a prescient sense of their poignant innocence. The story’s scope plays out over 300 pages.
or all these reasons, multiple viewpoints serve the work well, for they aim to convey the depth, breadth, height and soul of the city that never sleeps. If you’re wondering whether multiple viewpoints would serve your work, consider its topic, theme and scope. If these can sustain and would be enhanced by multiple perspectives, your work may be well-served by varied and variegated viewpoints.