Point of view is perhaps the hardest thing to teach about writing fiction. Ultimately it’s your voice as an author.
I’ll be presenting this tomorrow night, 14 March, for the Chattanooga Writers Guild. If you’re nearby, stop by.
Many of us can’t even agree on the right terms to use. In the following slides, I use first, third, and omniscient, but the lines are often blurry.
The analogy I’ve found useful, as you’ll see, is to think like a film director and where are you going to put the camera to record the scene? Who has it? When it there a “cut”?
To the right is Cool Gus as a puppy on a rare sunny day in the Pacific Northwest with Hannah, our long-haired Germans Shepherd. Hannah raised Gus. Taught him everything he knows, except he seems to have forgotten a lot other than sleeping, eating, and chasing a ball until he collapses.
The following is just a template. I’m a big believer in learning the craft, then breaking the rules. But you have to learn the craft first. There are other plot templates, but if you examine them, they all sort of fit the one in the slides below. When I wrote with Jennifer Crusie, she used four acts with three turning points. That also can fit.
My wife and I watch a lot of TV since our work and our hobby is story. One thing we’re noticing is much more experimentation with structure and time. Bending and breaking the rules. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Another thing I truly believe is that there are NO RULES. I call my book on writing a Toolkit because it isn’t a hammer’s fault if you pull it out and try to use it as a saw. During my workshop, I never say “you did it wrong.” I don’t think anyone can say that. I tend to ask “Why did you do that?”
One thing I use when I teach is show film clips as examples of each part of the structure. I can’t put those up here because of copyright issues. But you can start studying books and films and note the parts.
Something I’m a big fan of is watching a movie or series over again. The first time you’re watching to see what happened. The second time, since you know what happened, you’re watching to see how they wrote it. That’s always a fascinating experience.
Heavy is the head filled with such deep thoughts!