point of view tagged posts

Critique Technique Table of Contents

Here’s a Table of Contents of all of the Critique Technique posts to make it easier to go directly to the post you want to read.

Introductory Posts

Part 1: Critique, Technique, and Procedure

Part 1A: The Critiquer’s Mind Updated!

Part 1B: Life on the Other Side of the Critique Updated!

Part 2: Series Overview

Reader Response

Part 3: How Do You Feel?

Part 3.5: Authorial Intentions and Tracking Your Own Responses

Beginnings and Endings

Part 5: Weak or Missing Hook

Part 6: The Wrong Beginning

Part 7: Scene and Chapter Endings

Part 8: Story Endings

Characterization

Part 9: Characters and Conflict

Part 10: Poor Characterization

Part 11: Lack of Character Development

Part 12: Showing and Telling in Character Development

Part 13: Timing ...

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Spirit Walk Review

Best novel I’ve read in quite a while. And a debut novel at that.

Jay Treiber is a rare individual: a college English literature professor who can also write it, and write it well.

College English professor Kevin McNally has been struggling for decades with his guilt over an incident that happened when he was a teenager. This is the kind of subject that could lead the author and reader down a rat hole of angst, self-loathing, and neurotic navel-gazing but  Treiber avoids this trap. Instead, he chooses to have McNally seek resolution of that guilt, and forgiveness for what happened, through a skillfully interwoven series of story lines that mix McNally’s present and past.

By itself, that’s not unusual, but the story’s location and characters are...

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The Art of War for Writers

Small 4-star rating on dark blue background

Put James Scott Bell’s The Art of War for Writers next to Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style on your bookshelf—or better, within easy reach! It’s that good.

Using famous and long-ago Chinese general Sun Tzu’s The Art of War as his model, Bell presents vital and valuable information for writers in bite-size chunks. These nourishing and digestible non-chicken nuggets add up to a lot of chapters, yet only two are longer than five pages.

That’s what makes them so useful: you can read a few, set the book aside to ponder them, and then come back without being overwhelmed with information. These chapter titles will give you a sense of what I mean:

  • From Part I, “Reconnaissance”: 21. Put heart into everything you write.
  • From Part II, “Tactics”: 36...
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Critique Technique, Part 49 — Point of View Shifts

Two angry people sitting on a bench

Let’s be clear from the beginning about what point of view (POV), or viewpoint, is. Simply stated, it means whose eyes and other senses the reader is experiencing the story through. Said another way, if you think of the reader as being the proverbial fly on the wall, where is that fly? That sounds simple enough, but there are four main POV options, and many variations of each.

Four Main Points of View and Some of Their Variations

Omniscient

The word means all-knowing, and in this case, the fly really is on the wall. In this POV, the narrator stands back from the characters and reports on their actions and statements. But it’s also a telepathic fly: the author can tell the reader, as well as show him, what a character is thinking or feeling...

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Critique Technique, Part 49 — Head-Hopping

Funny frog
Image by Zela, from RGBstock.com

This article doesn’t have anything to do with drug-addled frogs (or any kind of frogs, for that matter), mid-twentieth century actress and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, or some strange horror movie. Or some even stranger Addams Family-meets-Mitch Miller sing-along show: “Follow the bouncing head and sing along to….” (Man, that’s really weird.)

No, fortunately, head-hopping in the context of writing is a form of point of view (POV) shifting. What happens is the writer jumps from the viewpoint of one character to another within a scene or even a paragraph. This is an easy trap for new writers to fall into, although more experienced ones can do it too...

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Great Stuff for Writers, May 27, 2013

Today is Memorial Day in the United States, one of the two holidays (two!) in which we honor and remember our military personnel, those serving today and those who have served in the past, especially those who were injured or killed in combat. As a veteran myself, I’ll be participating in a ceremony this evening. Courage in the face of mortal danger and sacrifice to it have long been—and should be!—staples of literature. James Scott Bell’s (@jamesscottbell) Of Miracles, Sacrifice and Story speak to this better than I can, so that’s where we’ll start this week’s Great Stuff.

And to my brothers and sisters in arms, thank you.

CRAFT

Nancy J. Cohen (@nancyjcohen) offers a veritable plethora of tips on how to make On-Site Research trips worth your time and expense...

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Great Stuff for Writers, March 19 & 20, 2013

Holy hotcakes, Batman! Check out the Great Stuff we’ve got today! The first three posts qualify as Extra-Great Stuff in my mind, and the others are none too shabby themselves. Check ‘em out.

CRAFT

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s excellent Your Story Opening: Shock vs. Seduction on Jane Friedman’s blog opens today’s Great Stuff, and what an opening it is. This excerpt from her book Fine-Tuning Fiction actually starts with a brief discussion of pace and who drives it—antagonist early, protagonist later—then gets into those two types of openings. The shock opening grabs the reader’s interest and attention right away...

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Great Stuff for Writers, March 12 & 13, 2013

Whoa! Is today a double, or even triple, unlucky day: 3-13-13? Not a bit! In fact, it’s your lucky day with the Great Stuff that’s waiting for you below, including news of a major shift in Random House’s proposed ebook contracts and 11 steps to creating a good looking CreateSpace POD book.

CRAFT

Keith Cronin (@KeithCronin) advocates a learning technique that a writer friend of mine swears by: Be a Copycat. Note that that’s copycat, NOT plagiarist. The idea is simple: by copying—word-for-word—particular passages—the opening scene, a chapter, the climax, whatever—of the work of an author whose work you admire and respect, you will gain insights into how they did what they did that you never would have simply by reading the same work...

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