Time to make a scene.

scene
Sorry for not posting a proper post last week I was sick. It seems to be a bug that is going around the area and I still cough on occasion but all in all I’m feeling much better. I might even try to convince my parents that I’m well enough to go on a Poke run (I’ve got Pokemon go and it’s great!)

Today I would like to give you the ultimate guide to planning and writing a scene.

A scene is one of the most basic things in writing and probably not something you need explained to you, but since I write my novels scene by scene I figured I might as well take a look at how I plan these.

A scene is not a chapter by the way, it is the smaller bits that a chapter is made out of. A scene is a single time and place in a story and a good way to see when a scene ends is when the character changes location.

A scene, like every other part of writing is made out of different elements but in this case we’ll look at the two main elements.

 
1. The first element to a scene is the sense of time and place.
In each scene you want to paint a picture to your reader so they can know where your character is. Even if your character is in pitch-black darkness you need to show this to your reader.
2. The second element is that something needs to happen.
The general idea is that if a scene does not further the story then it’s not worth having in the story and you might as well take it out. Have you ever read a story where they take nearly three pages just to describe grass and in the mean time the characters aren’t doing anything? These kind of books are boring and quickly makes the reader lose interest.

So those are the basic elements of a scene.
Setting and plot.

Now you can take it further when planning a scene and ask yourself a couple of questions before you start writing.
Questions such as what needs to happen? Where does this scene take place? Who is in this scene? What conflict is in this scene?

Here is a list of questions that I made.

5 scene questions

 

The thing I want to close off with is scene structure.
You get many different types of scene from 6000 word monstrosities to 500 words. (the rule of thumb is 1500)

All scenes have a sense of structure though which is something you probably learned in high school. Before writing a scene you are encouraged to structure it.

The most common structure looks like this.

  • Show character and their goal
  • Give them a problem.
  • Make your character get passed the problem for a resolution.
  • Repeat for the next scene.

 

If you do it right then something has changed for your character and your story has furthered.

This might not work for all scenes but is a good guideline to keep in mind.

 

This is not my longest writing post but I hope it helped anyway and that I won’t wait too long to write another one. If you have any specific topic you’d like me to write about feel free to mention it in the comments.

The right way to use subplots

subplots

I didn’t really plot the novel, which I’m busy with, before I started writing it. I just sat down and wrote.
This means that every now and then I have to pause in my writing and revaluate what I’ve written and then go figure out what I have to write next. While I wish I had taken a couple of days to just plot before I started writing, the process is working and I’m making great progress.
I mention this because recently I’ve had to stop in my writing again and take a look at my subplots. I had to decide what they are doing in my story and how exactly they will affect the end result.
After doing research and working out my own novel’s problems I’ve decided to share with you all I now know about subplots.

First let’s take a look at what a subplot is.
A subplot is a strand of plot that supports the main plot.
If you consider the plot of your novel to be a braid then a subplot would be a single strand in that braid. It is a sequence of events that is part of the story but stands on its own aside from the main plot.
Now I’d like to underline a word in my definition and that is “supports.”
The thing about a subplot is that it has to somehow be relevant to the main plot. It has to support the main plot and there has to be a reason for the subplot to be in the story.
Whatever you do, don’t just create a subplot to be filler. Instead use your subplots to strengthen your main plot and ending.
There are a whole bunch of different kinds of subplots, so here I want to share with you the most often used half dozen.

1. The romance subplot.
This is by far the most common subplot. It consists of the main character overcoming obstacles to be with the love interest.
2. Character arch.
The character arch can count as a subplot. Often how the character changes affect the end of the story and of course it has obstacles and revelations that lead your character to changing.
3. Proving themselves.
I’m simply calling this category “proving themselves” but it covers both redemption and revenge. This is when your character feels like they need to make up for something that happened in the past.
4. Non romantic relationship subplot.
You can have a subplot for relationships such as child parent relationships or friendly relationships.
5. Side character subplot.
If one of your side characters has their own separate goal from the main character than this can be a subplot as long as there are obstacles to overcome and it helps with the story’s end.
6. Other goal subplot.
I’m using this one for my story. My character’s main goal is to get the villain to stop hunting her. But there is a second goal and that is to help an injured friend.
Your character can have two goals which both lead to strengthening the end.

Now I just want to share with you a little about mixing the subplots.
First, let’s talk about where a subplot begins. The importance of the beginning of a story is to introduce your protagonist, antagonist and the main plot or goal. That means that the best place to introduce a subplot is after you’ve laid the ground for those three things.
But how do you close a subplot?
You might have noticed that I mentioned quite a few times that the subplot should strengthen the end of the novel. Keep in mind what closing each subplot looks like.
The most common and normally best suited place to close a subplot is in the third quarter of your story. Before the main plot closed so it can help give that ending some strength.
There is an exception for the romantic subplot though. For some reason we as readers and watchers of movies like to see the romantic subplot closed last. After the final battle we want to see the main character kiss the love interest. We want that subplot to be resolved at the end.
I’m basically done but one last thing you might want to keep in mind is that too many subplots can crowd your story and make it feel confusing, so unless you are writing a 500 page epic stick to less than four subplots.


I hope this will help you with your writing and that you’ll share this post.
If you are busy with camp NaNoWriMo, then good luck to you from me.

What are your story’s subplots? What do you think is most important to keep in mind about subplots?

How to incite an inciting incident.

Inciting incident

Since I just started working on a new rough draft I get to struggle with starting strong and the inciting incident. In discussing this with someone I realized that some people are confused by the thought of an inciting incident and so I’ve decided that I want to write a post on the topic so I can just make it clear what an inciting incident is and how you create one.

The inciting incident is a plot point in a novel where your main character (MC) is taken out of the life they are used to and put into a new situation. To put clearly it is when your character’s life goes from normal to not so normal.

 
How to create an inciting incident.
I want to start with a simple tip.
Ask yourself what does your character consider to be normal? You get different kinds of normal for example…

My normal is not having a teacher since I’m homeschooled and waking up at 8am.
A vampire’s normal on the other hand is going to bed at 5am and waking up at 6pm.

My normal is eating toast and drinking tea.
A vampire’s normal would be eating raw flesh and drinking blood.

Your MC’s normal is what you are going to be disrupting. Whether your MC’s normal waking up at 8 am or drinking blood it is still their normal.
Find your “normal” and then decide how to disrupt it.

 
Next thing you need to know is where in the story the inciting incident takes place.
Some people think that the inciting incident is the beginning of a story. It can be but that’s not its defining factor. The inciting incident is simply when things are set into motion.
Some people like starting their story with the inciting incident to make it immediately interesting while others like to show you a little about their character in their normal life first so you can get to know them. How you start your novel is totally dependent on the story but if you can’t decide feel free to talk to me about it in the comments.

The only general rule for the placing of the inciting incident is that it has to be in the first act (first quarter) of the story. If you put it in the second then your story’s start is probably boring and the rest of your plot will be unbalanced.

The last thing I have to say about constructing the inciting incident is that the MC is not the one who incites the inciting incident… if that make sense to you. The MC is generally just pulled into it and someone or something else is the cause for the disruption in your MC normal life.

One of the best examples of an inciting incident (and I’ve used this before) is that of The hunger games.
The inciting incident is the moment of the reaping. When Prim’s name is called and Katniss takes her place to participate in the hunger games.

It’s a good example for multiple reasons but mostly because it shows really well how the character’s normal was shifted and she was placed into a new situation.

 


What is your character’s normal and how will you disrupt it?

You might also what to go read one of my older posts “three main plot points” where I discuss plotting.

I hope you found this helpful so now I just want to challenge you to go out there and plan that novel of yours.

3 steps to creating character goals that won’t bore your readers

Character goals

I have recently decided to give you valuable content so you see, whenever I write a writing lesson post for you I feel it’s just not good enough. After all I actually want you to learn something not just get half built second hand information.

 

So it wasn’t once or even twice that I started a post and then shook my head and said to myself BUT THEY ALREADY KNOW THIS!

Nearly four times I wrote something and deleted it.

Luckily this is that fourth time and as you can probably tell I have not yet deleted my stupid ramblings instead I will continue to write this post and it will be about…. um…

3 steps to good goals.

YES! That’s it.

 

Step one.

Define your character’s goal.

So what is a character goal?

The easy answer is it’s the thing your character wants but a little more complicated. You see while it is something your character wants it needs to drive your character to do things. It needs to make them active.

A goal is also specific with a clear way of achieving it.

A good example of a goal is my wish to be a published writer. It makes me active, makes me write and blog and research agents and genres. My goal has a clear end point that states that if I get published then it’s achieved.

That’s what a goal is and what your character needs.

 

In my story that I’m working on my main character Felix has the goal of mastering his magic power. (cliché I know)

It drives him to practice and to train and even talk to people who can help.

It has a clear point where if it takes the commanded form he has it under control.

 

Step 2.

The next thing you need to make your goals important to your readers is something that has many names. Some call it a dreadful promise, or something to dread but I like to call it stakes.

This is what will happen if your character fails to achieve his goals.

You get two types of stakes, the kind that is fulfilled and the kind that your character evades. I prefer the kind that is fulfilled and plan on using it for my next story but I’ll give more on the details of making that work in a moment

First you need an effective stake.

Ask yourself why is your character going after this goal?

Then ask yourself what is he risking by doing this?

Lastly ask yourself who would want to see him fail? This is usually the antagonist or villain.

Now that you have all those questions answered ask one last question what is the worst thing that can happen to my character while he is attempting this goal?

Based off what you know now create your stakes.

 

If I continue on with my story as an example then Felix’s stakes are losing his position of power. If he doesn’t master his goal then he will lose his position in the ranks of his family’s army.

 

Just like the goal itself the stakes needs to be clear and precise.

 

Now as promised let’s talk about fulfilled stakes and why I prefer them.

You have been telling your reader that something bad can happen but if you don’t let it happen it means that at the end of the book these stakes appear void. After all they didn’t happen so there probably wasn’t any way that it was going to happen anyway. If none of your stakes for your goals big or small happen then it’s simply a character breaking his or her way through the opposition with nothing ever going wrong which means no real tension.

Let’s say these stakes are fulfilled and your character is thrown into some deep trouble, now your reader starts to worry and your character needs to be resourceful. Your reader gets to see so much more than just your character walking over everything that can go wrong and instead sees them handling the problems.

 

If you are going to go with fulfilled stakes then there is one thing I need to mention here.

Just fulfilling the stakes isn’t enough, you need to make things worse.

Everything is going bad but your reader already in part knew that this could happen so now you add on top of this something that they didn’t know. You make failing the goal even worse.

Let’s say your readers knew your characters where dangling over a pit and now you make your characters fall in. It’s bad but it’s also expected. What isn’t expected is the monster living in the pit and thus that monster makes falling in the pit even worse than your reader first anticipated.

 

Step three.

Now it’s time for the last thing that makes your reader care about the goals. It might just be the most important one in fact.

Suffering

For some writers it’s against our nature to hurt our beloved character who we sculpted out with so much love. You mustn’t fall for this though, if you want your readers to care your character needs to suffer.

Readers know a goal is important when a character goes to great length to get it. A goal is important when a character is willing to offer things and get hurt to achieve it.

 

There are different levels of suffering but first I want to cover physical vs. Emotional.

Physical is the level of suffering new writers tend to fall on and it’s a mistake I’ve made quite a few times myself but emotional suffering is stronger.

I’ll use lord of the rings for a reference here since I watched it just the other day.

Frodo got stabbed quite a few times in the movies and we cared but not for long. I mean he got hurt but the physical pain only kept our interest momentarily whereas when we lost Gandalf the blow was emotional and it kept our attention. We were reminded that the goal is so important that Gandalf was sacrificed.

It kept our attention longer, made us want the goal more, and it made us sympathise with the characters.

 

Now for the other methods of suffering.

It starts at inconvenience. A character wants something and is willing to inconvenience himself for the goal. This doesn’t really make the reader care about the goal but it works at the beginning of a story to just capture their interest.

 

Then it goes to discomfort. At some point the character starts taking the goal even more serious and is willing to discomfort himself. Perhaps it’s by doing something such as staying outside a store all night to be the first in line for a new toy.

 

The next one is real physical pain.This is when the character cuts off their own finger or jump in front of the cracking whip. It’s when they are willing to be hurt for their goal.

 

The last stage is loss.This one hurts the most because it means you are willing to give something that meant so much to you away for this goal.

It’s  Rupunzel’s hair being cut off to stop the witch in tangled or Anna running to Elsa instead of Christoff to catch Hans’s sword.

In Harry Potter it’s when he willingly goes to Voldamort.

All these heroes knew they were going to lose everything but still threw it away to achieve their goal.

 

Tip: when you make your character suffer it’s good to make the suffering grow worse and not less throughout the book.

 

I hope this helped and that you are at least a little excited to go planning out your character’s goals.

Let me know if you like this post and know that my next writing lesson will be next month somewhere. Until then you can go take a look at these other writing lessons.

Now go and make your stories the best you can and remember that striving toward goals will make readers love your character more than achieving it.

 

 

 

You need other writers.

Hey guys! Today I have something a bit different for you: a guest post! I reached out to my good friend, Enette Venter of Enette’s World, to see if she would like to write a post for you lovely people out there. (You know, all twelve of you.) I wrote a post for her blog,…

via Guest Post: Enette Thinks You Should Consider Writing Groups — Ayli’s Offerings

 

So the link you see above is for a guest post I wrote for Ayli from Ayli’s offerings and it’s basically about my writing group and why I think people need their own writing support. I really want you to check out this link because when I wrote it I could tell it was going to be epic and now that it’s published I still stand by that point.

So go read it… right now… enjoy!

8 things to know before you write your first “first draft”

8 tips for new writers

I’ve been talking to some young writers who would like to start a novel, and while talking to them it occurred to me how many things new writers do that keep them from finishing their first draft. Sometimes it’s because they want someone to read and give them feedback while they are writing their first draft while at other times it’s because they just don’t know where to take their story because of a lack of planning.
Then I remembered how much I learned while writing my first book’s draft and how many things I wish I had know or been prepared for. Perhaps if I had been warned my plot wouldn’t have fallen flat on 5000 words. While I had pushed through I was very close to simply calling it quits.
So this post is for those of you who are thinking of writing a novel.

8 things to know before you start to write your first novel.

1. To get through your first draft takes a lot of discipline. Yes writing is fun, but there will be day where you just don’t feel like writing. I’m not trying to throw you off or keep you from writing by saying this, I just want you to be prepared because it’s true and it’s often where people give up on their writing. The truth is that writing will get hard but even on those days you need to put your butt in front of a computer (or pen) and keep writing. You will need to be disciplined to keep writing. The best way to be disciplined is to make sure you write at least 100 words every day.

2. You can find that even though you are disciplined in your writing a day might come that you need to kick up the motivation. I’m stubborn so my motivation is proving a point most of the time, or because I really want to reach the end of the book but if that doesn’t work you need to find a way to motivate yourself, perhaps the reward system can work for you. (500 words for a cup of coffee?)

3.  Expect to learn a lot while writing. I’m not talking random facts; I’m saying that you will learn a lot about yourself. You will also learn that you suck at writing…
Not that that means you’re a bad writer, it just means that this is your first time attempting something like this and I’m sure any successful writer can tell you that their first draft of their first story also sucked. It’s not a bad thing it just means that you have things to improve on. When you realize that your writing is worse than you would like it to be, don’t give in, and embrace it. Yes it’s bad but you can only improve your writing if you write.

4. This is another thing you need to know about your first draft, your writing will improve. I have no doubt about it. As you write your brain becomes more accustomed to the way sentences sound and by the end of your 120 pages you will have gotten much better. Don’t be surprised; let it motivate you to keep writing.

5. I often hear young writers who has never finished any book tell me that they don’t plan because they’re more on the seat writers. If you’re a pantster (someone who writes without a plan) then that’s great, but if you tell me you’re a panster and then later tell me that you keep losing interest before you can finish your novel then I suggest you try planning.

It takes a little extra time but it really does help. If you know where your story is going then you will never be caught in one of those moments where you ask yourself “well what do I write now that won’t be boring?”

6. Here is something more common among the young writers on forums on the internet; they often start to worry about title, covers and dedications before they even finished their first draft. These things don’t matter at the moment, just focus on finishing your novel.
Yes a good title is always nice but the title is focused on the audience and getting them to buy your book, and guess what, that doesn’t matter until you have a book to sell. You don’t need a good title or a cover when you are writing your first draft. You want to know what I’m calling my work in progress? Felix vs Aida… it’s not the title it will keep but it helps me remember in which Word file the story is being saved.

7. I feel I need to say that

you don’t write your first draft for an audience. You write it for the story. A friend of mine has this habit of sending you bits of her first drafts, and I love my friend to bits, I see potential in her writing but her first draft is just like mine, not all that good. So please I’m asking you while you’re writing don’t give your writing to someone just to be read so they can give you praise, it puts people in an awkward position. The only exception is for when you are in a writing group and you have discussed reading your work out loud. Even then people might give you bad feedback and this has also kept people from writing so that is where the whole don’t write for an audience comes in. While you are writing your first draft you are writing the story your way, and other people don’t have a say. Only when you start to edit do you start considering other peoples feedback.

8. The last point I want to make is that your story will grow. You might have had a simple idea but as you write the idea will twist and turn. Again this is where your planning helps, it keeps you from making drastic choices… but these twists in your idea isn’t a bad thing and that’s what I want you to know. Don’t panic because you’re not sure whether or not to implement a change. Examine it from all angles and ask yourself if it fits, if you want to add the change go for it. This is your first novel you have free reign on how it goes.

 
I hope this helps the new writers out there and if you happen to have a novel finished then share something you feel young writers should know.

If you have a unfinished novel lying somewhere or you have a spark of an idea without any substance then I challenge you now to go take a look at it and turn it around in your head a few times to see if you can get something from it.

What you and I can do to not suck at writing beginnings.

IMG_4076

Today I want to talk about what makes the beginning of a book good and the elements that it should have.

This week’s topic is something that has really caught my attention these past few weeks because I’m editing my novel, Imaginary friends, and well… it’s not going great.
My editing was well on track, I had highlighted exactly what I needed to fix in my story but then just as I started putting in the changes I realized something. The beginning of my story is not in line with the rest of my story. I had opened it wrong and if someone were to read it they might read a line and put it down again because it’s just not gripping. So after I threw a tantrum in my room and ate some chocolate spread right out the jar I got back to work. I went right back to the basics of storytelling and that’s what I want to share with you now.

The beginning of the book is what sells the story, it introduces your character and genre to your reader so it really is important.

What make the beginning of a story interesting?

The basics that your beginning needs.

• Character – the who behind it all
• Setting- the where that is dependent on both place and time.
• Conflict- this is a must in any story.
• Style- understand, your whole story will look like this.

Now those are big things I can nearly write posts for on their own. I’m not planning to do that but hey if you want to know more just ask.

 

Let’s start with character.

Character

I’m going to assume you know your point of view character really well. If you don’t then you should go sit down and invite him or her to talk with you.
You get a lot of different stories but the one thing that normally has people continue reading a story is that they like the character. So in your first paragraph it is best to introduce your main character. Not an unimportant side character because that’s like lying to your readers. You need to show them what the story is about so open with your main character or a similarly interesting and important character that will be with them throughout the entire story. (that’s of course if you don’t kill them at the end of act two.)
When I say introduce though a lot of people might think I mean that they should launch into something that goes…Charles had red hair and blue eyes…
No don’t do that. That’s not interesting and it doesn’t show your readers what they should be expecting from the rest of the story.
Introduce your character as a person beyond how they look and really just make it interesting. Show your reader who your character is from line one.

Extra characters
Extra character that you should introduce in the beginning or first act really depend on what you are writing. Here is the general rating from importance.

  • Villain
  • love interest
  • sidekick

The next big thing your beginning needs to make clear is the setting.

Setting

There is nothing quite as confusing as when someone is on the phone one minute and driving in a carriage the next. I’m sure you can do this just make sure that your reader knows that this is something you will be doing. You want to pull your reader into the story and for that they need to know how the things around them look.
If you love world building like me then I have to warn you however not to overdo it. I have read stories where people push the reader out of the story because they have paragraphs and paragraphs of description for something that isn’t relevant right at that moment. I know you love this creation you had built but please you need your reader hooked before they will truly care.

Show your reader where they are but don’t show them only where they are but also what is happening in this place. Got it?

Conflict.

Conflict is one of those things that work side by side with good characters. If you have good character but there is no conflict your reader likes them but they don’t see why they should be concerned. They won’t keep reading because there is no answer to find out.
But…
Just because you have a big war going on doesn’t mean that it’s interesting either, you need to make your conflict personal to your character so it becomes personal to the reader. For the first scene in the story you might also want to make it a more immediate conflict such as an argument or new information that needs to be acted on now.
You need to grip onto your reader and pull them in. So do that. Pull them as close to the personal side of your story as you can.
The last thing you need to show your reader in a good beginning is style

Style

Style is basically a mix of smaller elements that form how you write. First person or third? Past or present tense? What kind of words do you use? Those are all part of style.
Style isn’t something I can tell you how to do because no two writers have the same style and that’s okay. Writing styles tend to grow with the writer and the characters but it’s still important to establish at the beginning of the story.
I don’t know about you but when I read a book that’s written in third person and it suddenly switches to first it really throw me off. Or if the book is written really funny at first and then by the second act it stops having any humour and goes all serial killer on you, I will stop reading.
I have stopped reading a book specifically for that reason. Not because the dark parts where bad but because that harsh change made me feel like I lost the story. If you promise your reader that your story is going to be a horror then keep it a horror. If it’s a romance in act one keep it a romance in act two.
If you want it to be both then make sure that when the horror comes you don’t stop having a romance thread and better yet show your readers that it will be both from act one.
Before I close this post off I figured that I should show you what my first line is currently settled on.

Charles’s breath came in ragged and his legs were starting to ace. Shouldn’t he be fit from all these years of running away from flesh eating monsters? His burning lungs answered no.
So  what do you think? If you read that first line would you maybe take a look at the rest of it?

I hope you manage to nail your story’s start, if you’ve already got a great start feel free to share your first line. If you’re not happy with your start at the moment tell me why.
What do you think makes a good start for a story?

Busting my way out of writers block and what you can expect in the next few weeks.

Okay so I’m pretty excited for the events of this blog from here of on, for those of you who haven’t noticed I have had a severe case of writers/bloggers block in these past few weeks.
Since I have posted not one, not two but three posts on writers block on this blog you’d think I would have been able to snap out of it rather quickly but to tell you the truth I did the absolute worst thing you can do with writers block.
I ignored it.

restart 2016

So I went and faced the problem and now feel like, while I’m not completely over it yet, I am ready to at least try blogging properly again. I’m going to write a proper post on the different kinds of writers block in the near future most likely and share why exactly I was struggling with writers block but for now let me just give you a little update on what you can expect in the next few weeks.

What I’m going to do is I’m going to be introducing a set of short stories that go with the novel/novella that I wrote in November. (I say novella because I had to cut a lot while editing.)
With these short stories I’m thinking of writing a post series on writing your own short stories.

I want to write a big post in the next month or two on why you should definitely use twitter and how I’m planning on changing my tactics for using twitter.

Now you might be thinking that my head is way too deep into the business part of what I’m doing, if you know me personally you are probably rolling your eyes at serious Enette but I want to clear something up right now. If the writer’s block has taught me anything these past few weeks it’s that I want to get closer to you and actually let more of myself shine through my work not just the business side. So aside from all the twitter post and the short story series you can also expect some insight into what books I’m reading at the moment, some personal insight into the books I’m writing at the moment and mostly I’m just going to go back to what the idea was for this blog at the beginning, pulling you with me as I grow as a writer.
Further on my writing projects themselves are suffering. Editing Imaginary friend is proving a lot more challenging then I had hoped. I haven’t even started the rough draft for Felix and Aida (TBD) but I’m hoping to get to it soon.
I’m planning a new approach for these projects which I’ll probably mention again further on but for now I’m happy to say that is the end of this update.
I hope you guys had a lovely valentine whether you spent it watching Dead pool or cuddling with your cat. If you have been following me for a while now I want to say thank you for your support and if you just stumbled onto this post don’t be afraid to take a look around or drop a comment, I’m always happy to hear from both new people and my regular commenter’s.

Happy Fandompocalypse !

How to not fail at writing deep POV

This is my last Post in my POV series and it’s all about writing in deep POV.

IMG_5531.jpg

So let me start off by saying that this is how I write. Deep POV is part of my selected writing style, but it’s not for everyone. It’s complicated and it borders on making no sense. If you try deep POV and you don’t pull it off chances are your writing is going to suck.

With that being said, I also don’t want you to turn away from deep POV without trying it first. It’s going to be hard but that’s what this post is for. To make it easier and to make sure you actually get to try it.

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So here are the basics of what deep POV is and looks like.
Deep POV is when you take away every aspect of your writing that reminds your reader that they are reading. You take away every part of your writing that draws attention to itself instead of your story and so by doing that you bring your reader closer. Closer to the character, closer to the action, closer to the tension.

Here is a piece that I wrote yesterday in deep POV.
Aida stomped over to where the servant bell hung next to the door and with clench teeth yanked at it. While she waited she went over to her vanity table and leaned on the edge of it.
She shut her eyes and slowed her breathing. One, two, three.
A knock sounded on the door and a servant girl quietly crept into the room.
“You called Lady Aida?”

“You’re name is Patrice right?”
Patrice nodded and smiled slightly. Perhaps because it was the first time Aida was using her name?

We’re going to take this piece and I’m going to explain why it’s considered deep POV.

So first things first, when you write in deep POV show don’t tell become ridiculously important. You are pulling your reader into the story so you can’t simply tell them what is happening. If you want them to feel like they are there you have to treat them like they are there and show them what is happening.
In the first part of this paragraph I wrote:
Aida stomped over to where the servant bell rope hung next to the door and with clenched teeth yanked at it.

Now while I am questioning my own use of words here the point is that instead of simply telling you that she went to ring the bell I showed you how she did this.
She didn’t walk she stomped. She clenched her teeth adding to the feeling of aggression. Lastly she yanked at the bell rope. To show you what was happening I used descriptive words to show you how things was done instead of simply telling you that she rang the bell.

Now the problem here is that if you do this wrong the words start to draw attention to themselves and you end up having the opposite effect to drawing you readers in.

The next important thing give-away is how you show your character’s thought process. Once again you don’t want to draw attention to the writer behind the writing so you should try to cut out the words “she thought” or “he thought”. If you take this out your character’s thoughts will run more natural for your reader. It will simply be another thought in both your character and your reader’s head.

Once again this is something that if you mess it up get’s really confusing to both read and write but I’m sure you can do it and either way you won’t know until you try.
The third point is dialog.
Did you notice that not once did I say she said? I didn’t say she muttered or she whispered either because these are distracting words. If you are going for deep, deep POV you don’t write any dialog tags.
If you’re going for mildly deep POV you might write she said. But never do you write anything such as whispered or wept.

The first time I read this same piece of advice I thought the person who gave it to me was bat crap crazy. How is the reader supposed to know how your character is saying it? How do you express that your character isn’t simply talking in some dry, boring monotone voice?

Well there are 2 methods to handling dialog.

The first is by combining your dialog with action.
Let’s say someone’s friend is crying because she messed up. Perhaps she’s crashed her car?
Normally you might write something like.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do?” She wept.
But in deep POV you’ll substitute wept for action.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do.” She buried her face in her hands, hiding her puffy eyes from view.
The second way to handling dialog is to trust your reader. Whenever you write a normal dialog that ends in “she said” the chances are you could just leave it blank like I did in my first example. Your character isn’t doing something special with their voice so you might as well trust that your reader can hear it for themselves.

Passive voice and where it stands for deep POV.
Never use passive voice when writing in deep POV.
Why?
Well because deep POV is all about drawing your reader into the action and heat of the moment. Well what’s the point of that if you don’t have any heat in the middle of it all? Passive voice ruins deep POV.
Now I don’t think we’ll cover passive voice too seriously right here but remember that if you can put by zombies after the verb in the sentence then it’s passive.
So that’s basically how you keep yourself writing in deep POV but this post isn’t done yet.
Extras for writing in deep POV.

You need to be careful of how you identify characters. In deep POV you are showing your reader what your POV character knows and pays attention too.
So if your POV character walks into a character named Jim but she doesn’t know him then you aren’t going to write:
Diana walked into a stranger named Jim.
First off this simply sounds stupid and secondly how does your character know his name is Jim?
She doesn’t know it so why would you let your readers?
You need to actually write about how Jim gives his name to your character or if he doesn’t you need to keep him nameless until he does.

Now if you are introducing a character your POV character knew beforehand it’s still complicated.
Let’s say Jim is Diana’s brother.
In deep POV you can’t write:
Diana walked into her brother Jim.

Why would the fact that Jim is her brother be relevant to Diana. I don’t know about you but when I bump into my brother I don’t normally think to myself. This is Pete, he’s my brother.
This is not new information to me, so why would I be thinking about it?

There are ways to pass this issue though.
You can use dialog: “Sorry sis, didn’t see you there.”
Or you could just use your character’s memory: Jim bumped into her and gave her the same apologetic smile their father had earlier in the kitchen.
You could probably simply use your character’s thoughts as well but I’m sure you don’t need me to give you an example of that.

So I’m going to close here with my last advice which is. Know your character. Deep POV becomes like 60 percent easier if you just know your characters really well. How they think and act will affect your story from here of on.

Now since this post is pretty long I don’t see why I can’t challenge you to write a scene in deep POV.
It can be about whatever you want and if you’re done you can feel free to share it in the comments.

For now, I hope this helped you and if you have anything to say on the topic please feel free to share.

Deciding on a POV character to be the voice of your story.

In the past two weeks I have written why POV matters and then we compared first person POV IMG_6174to third person POV. Today we’ll take a look at how you decide on a POV character and how to define their voice.
Your POV character is the character from whose perspective you are telling your story. It isn’t specifically the hero of the story but in most cases it is.
Who your POV character is affects your writing because everyone reacts to things differently and like different things.
So if you choose a book lover as your POV character and you let her into a study her eyes will notice the books.
If you choose a carpenter as your POV character and you put him in the same study, he will notice the bookshelves.

This is important because it effects how you will be writing the entire book. If you are writing in third person like we discussed last week then yes you can have more than one POV character, but are you sure that’s a good thing?
Every PO character you have must have their own voice and be indistinct enough that the reader can tell them apart even if you don’t say their names. So if you are new to writing than I suggest that you don’t have more than 3 POV characters. If you are experienced than you can have any amount under 7. If you are writing in 1st person than stick to only one POV character.

First you need to pick a POV character.
Things to consider before you decide is.
• How close to the action will this character be?
Your reader doesn’t want to simply read about a character drinking tea while his friends are out fighting a war. Your readers want to be in the middle of the story where all the tension is. So make sure that your POV character is involved in the story.
• Does this character have anything at stake?
We want your readers to care about your POV character not just everyone around them. Make sure your POV character has something at stake and then make sure your reader cares about it.
• How well do you know this character?
If you don’t know your POV character all that well than go figure them out. If you don’t know your POV character you won’t know how they view the world and you won’t know what to write.
• One last tip is that before a scene ask yourself who’s perspective will be the most interesting in this scene.

So now you have decided on a character you need to work on defining their voice. This is best done through writing exercises.

I start by simply writing a rough scene so I can get the general feel of my character. It’s often really bad but every here and there some piece of the writing strikes true and is my character’s voice. I read this over so I get to know my character a little better.

The second writing exercise I use is to imagine a scene in my head. I place the setting and the characters without so much as putting a word on paper. I then simply start making a list of things my character would notice in this scene.

The third exercise I do is asking myself, what kind of words do this character use?
A prince who has been educated would use different words to describe things than say an uneducated barber.
The words you use are important because people pick up different words and let it become a part of their internal thoughts as well as their dialog. Also if you are writing from the perspective of an artist you will need to have words ready for descriptions because simply saying that the girl had blue eyes and brown hair wouldn’t do if your character thinks in terms of ice blue and midnight blue.
Here is a final exercise for you.
If you are writing from more than one point of view than write a scene with all your POV characters in it. Make sure something happens to all of them. Now rewrite it from one of the other POV character’s perspective.
Rewrite the scene as many times as you have POV characters. Then compare the writings and see if each character has their own voice.
While writing, remember that each character have their own wants and their own set of fears.
I hope his was helpful to you guys, if you have any questions or something to add then don’t be afraid to do so.
How many POV characters do you have? Who is your main POV character?