As writers we have a preference when it comes to the POV used in telling a story, it make sense to write in a way that seems natural and is easy. For me it’s the first person. I have tried writing in third and find I inadvertently, at some point during the writing process, crossover to first person. However, it is at times the most challenging to POV to use because I don’t plot or outline the first person POV requires I not only know my character but understand her as well. You have to realize that these people we create are just that, a creation, a figment of our overactive imagination that we want to make real in not only our minds but in those who will hopefully and eventually read our novels. Resisting to tell the story is another challenge when writing in first person, ensuring your MC doesn’t come off as self-absorbent and trying to constantly figure out ways to rephrase the “I” at the beginning of each paragraph, something not easy to avoid in the first person POV. Another thing to remember is that when writing the story you don’t want to feel the frustration of feeling trapped in the head of you character, therefore it’s our job as writers to make the character an interesting one so neither the writer nor the reader become bored. First person POV brings forth a sort of intimacy, we get the closest possible connection to the thoughts and feelings of the MC, but unless we use first person from various characters, your MC can never report what she/he hasn’t seen or felt.
What’s your point of view? Any challenges in you’ve come across in with the POV you’ve chosen to tell your story?
A Cliché is something that has become overly familiar, this is the definition I found at Merriam-Webster.
The difinition of the one thing we hear just as often as “show, don’t tell” is “avoid clichés”. Although one here and there won’t completely shatter a story and can fit nicely, we can even get away with using it in dialogue. Since people in general speak in clichés, the dialogue can seem convincing just don’t over do it. If too many clichés are used in one paragraph it can make it seem flat, dull, and just plain boring. Although clichés get the message across, they do so in a very unimaginative way. This is a trap we all fall into, I’m sure we all have come across a few clichés during the edeting of our own work, I know I have. In fact I have read books that are plagued with them, phrases such as.
That was easy as pie
Tall, dark and handsome ( I am guilty of this one)
Better late than never
Easier said than done
More than meets the eye
At the end of the day (this I see a lot)
The list is possibly endless, so when life gives you lemons… Argh! Ask for tequila, I personally hate lemonade…
Are there any clichés you can think of? When you re-read your ms have you come across any clichés you’ve written?
It turns out that we can’t always attribute our difficulty in coming up with words for our novels to writer’s block. There are times when simple distraction can tear you in the wrong direction and your drive and inspiration leaves you completely. Avoiding distractions is harder than it seems, our daily lives may be a huge one, but that said our reality is something we as writers can’t avoid. It’s easy to slack off and not get any work done, especially if you’re working from home where there is no boos to tell to get back to work. Therefore, this brings me to the distractions that are within our control, television, Internet, or maybe even the radio. We must turn it all off! The Internet part is not always an easy thing, for me at least, to stay away form, I am constantly checking email, blogging, readign blogs and the ever addictive tweeting. Lots of writers blog and we have followers who’s blogs we enjoy reading and often comment on, my problem is that I tend to get stuck reading every one’s posts and tweets that I forget I have work to get done, next thing I know it’s time to pick my kids up at school and voilà my day is completely shot.
I need to find that balance, find a routine, and convince myself that the job I do is a serious one and needs to be done. Last week I found myself in a rut, I read a couple of books went for walks and even took the train into the city with my kids and husband in hopes that it would get me going. Let me tell ya’ there is nothing like heading in to Toronto’s China Town for your mind to open up, sometimes all we need is a change of scenery. As for the distractions, well I avoided them completely to see if not tweeting or blogging could get me back on track, it wasn’t easy, but I am positive staying away helped…
How do you find the balance? How do you stay away from some of the distractions I mentioned?
Last week I had a few great days of inspiration and wrote more than I had expected to, than I woke up Thursday morning and that inspiration was suddenly gone. Sitting in front of my computer screen hoping for the words to develop in my mind and make their way to my fingers tips and eventually on to the screen, but got nothing. I am still getting nothing,
I am halfway through a writing workshop in which we have started doing critiques a couple of weeks ago and the class is required to bring a scene from their chapters (4 to 5 Pages), these scenes have to be brought in every Wednesday, no excuses, and rather than bring in something I have already finished I decided to start something completely new in order to take full advantage of the workshop. Well let me tell you, I don’t know if it’s the pressure of having to produce something new every week that is affecting me or simply writer’s block, which is not so simple, I can’t seem to get my groove on… Last week Racquel Henry
guest blogged about writers block on Buffy Griffin
and I commented on how I had gone through writer’s block once before and doing house chores helped me, I got over that bout pretty quickly, I will have you know that as of Saturday, you could literally eat of the my kitchen floor and still nothing is coming to me. I don’t know how long writer’s block last a couple of hours, days or weeks, all I know is that for me right now it’s been 4 days. This is frustrating because normally I sit at the computer and write without a second thought, it comes really easy to me. Sometimes reading helps to stir the imagination, I have done that, but still nothing. I am now going on a very long walk with a mutt that has been begging for exercise and I hope that it will stir my creative senses…
What have you done to get over your Writer’s block?
The job of the backstory is to reveal important information about the main character and her world. It’s the history of your character, telling the reader how she became who she is and why she acts and thinks the way she does. Everybody has a history, but sometimes too much of it in a story can stall it. However a novel with not enough back story can be thin and may be confusing, think of it as an explanation without all the little details. Backstory is my biggest struggle and I am certain that I am not the only new writer this is an issue for. Lets face it, it’s the newbies worst enemy and best teacher all in one. So how much backstory is too much, how and when do you start to insert it? This is the question that plagues us because we are constantly reminded when writing that too much is just that… too much! We new writers concentrate so much on the not that we forget about the story we initially started writing and in turn the process become so technical that you forget about the creative part of it. When inserting backstory in to your work think about what you want to accomplish in the scene. My struggle with backstory is that I often wonder if there should be a particular order in which it’s inserted, will it come in the form of flashbacks or do I write in a way so it is the story. Doing the last I will risk info dumping in an overwhelming amount, trust me I know because I have done it and been told so.
Does it have to be in a particular order? If the story starts with the main conflict, it’s obviously not the beginning, so how do I go back and describe how the character got where she is? Do you struggle with backstory? Where do you begin to insert it?
The Answer is YES!
Character conflict is an element of story writing which reveals to the reader what type of person the character is and why they do the things they do right? We’ve all heard this before, so when should you introduce conflict in a story? That depends on the writer, but the sooner the better I would say… Create the hook, have things start with the problem/s faced by your character. Complications is what makes the conflict interesting, without it you really don’t have the story. Things need to go wrong in order for them to get better, this is obvious, but it’s always intriguing when the initial problem gets worse and your character thinks he/she has it under control. Ensure that the complications introduced in to the story are believable, when people read not only do they want lose themselves in the story, but they also want to in some way relate to the character/s.
Complications create change, change creates conflict, now changes in your character’s feelings and actions creates internal conflict also an important part of your story, we want to see the character struggle, nothing is simple, be it in fiction or real life… Remember though to find the resolution, no reader wants to be left hanging.
When do you introduce the conflict?