Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Links of Interest

WARNING, WORDPRESS PLUG IN SECURITY FLAWS:


AN AUTHOR BUSINESS PLAN THAT WORKS:


TIGHTENING YOUR WRITING:


FIND THAT ACCIDENTAL FORESHADOWING AND IMPROVE ON IT:


USING SCRIVENER FOR FIRST DRAFTS:


CREATING THE TONE:


PLANNING YOUR BOOK TOUR:


WORLDBUILDING, CREATING MONSTERS:


GIVING YOUR READER A THRILL:


HOW TO SUPPORT AN AUTHOR BEYOND BUYING HER BOOK:


IS YOUR SITE/BLOG MOBILE PHONE FRIENDLY, TEST IT HERE TO FIND OUT:


WORLDBUILDING, REALISTIC MAGIC IN FANTASY:


PUTTING BACKSTORY IN ACTION SCENES:


THE ANATOMY OF A GREAT VILLAIN:


CREATING THE STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER:


EVERY SCENE NEEDS A STRONG GOAL:


WORLDBUILDING ISN’T JUST FOR FANTASY AND SF:



Monday, April 20, 2015

How Many Viewpoint Characters?

QUESTION: How many viewpoint characters can I use? And must I have the bad guy’s point of view?

The point of view character or POV is writing jargon for the person whose head you are inside during a scene in fiction. With the exception of omniscient viewpoint novels, all current genre novels have only one character’s POV at a time.

The number of point-of-view characters you use in a novel depends on genre needs as well as the story you have to tell. If your choice of POVs isn't mandated by the market, you use the number of POVs you need. 

In STAR-CROSSED, I used six POVs because my story was so complex, and the novel was big enough at around 130,000 words to allow so many characters.  One of the POVs was my villain.  

I have also created complex suspense plots with only one or two POVs because the plot was so tightly connected that those POVs were enough.  None of those had the antagonist's POV.  

If the antagonist doesn't have a POV, the reader will still get a sense of the person because of what he does.  

The main characters are also discovering who or what this person is by following the clues of the crime or the situation.  As the characters learn about this criminal so does the reader.  

If this person's crimes are methodical, this gives the reader a bit of information about him.  If he cuts off the victims' fingers with a surgical knife, the reader learns something else about him.  

By the time the bad guy is unveiled, the reader should have a very good sense of this character without a POV.  At the moment of unveiling, the reader will usually be given the final pieces of this character's emotional puzzle.

Some writers have trouble writing the bad guys because they are concentrating on the good guys and the plot needs of the novel.  I always suggest that a writer write a summary of the plot from the point of view of the bad guy starting with the crime, if there was one, and move from that point to the final unveiling.

The bad guy's choices and his story must be as logical for his personality as the plot choices and story of the main characters.  

The problem with multiple point of views is that some readers have trouble keeping track of the characters, or the pacing is slowed with each new viewpoint or the novel comes to a screeching halt as the reader gets into a new head. 

The writer also runs the risk of telling too much with so many viewpoints which can suck the interest and surprises right out of a story.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Links of Interest

BRUSH UP YOUR GRAMMAR, THE APOSTROPHE:


HOW TO SURPRISE THE READER:


TIPS ON WRITING THE FLASHBACK:


CONTRACT LANGUAGE, AVOIDING PAY TO PLAY CLAUSES:


PEN NAMES, PRO AND CON:


HOW TO GET THAT PEN NAME THAT HIDES YOUR REAL NAME:


HOW TO INSTALL A PLUG IN IN YOUR WORDPRESS SITE:


USING MOVIE TECHNIQUES TO CRAFT YOUR STORY:


POISONING, PART 1:


FIVE WAYS TO RUIN A STORY:


ALPHA READERS:


USING PINTEREST TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK:


USING SCRIVENER TO WRITE A NOVEL:


CREATING YOUR OWN E-COURSE:


BLENDING MYSTERY AND FANTASY:


MAKING YOUR READER THINK THE OPPOSITE OF A CHARACTER:


WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND WATCH OUT FOR IN AN AGENT CONTRACT:


THE TWO-EDGED SWORD OF BACKSTORY IN DIALOGUE:


SHOWING EMOTION OTHER PLACES THAN THE FACE:


A WALK SAYS A LOT ABOUT A CHARACTER:



Monday, April 13, 2015

Noun or Pronoun?

QUESTION: When should I use the character's name and when should I use the personal pronouns "he" or "she?"

Name repetition reminds the reader that he is reading about a character, and it jerks him right out of that viewpoint character's head. For this reason, you should use the character's name once at the beginning of the scene, then you don't use it again except for clarity.

Moments when it's needed for clarity include scenes with more than one person of the same gender. 

In crowd scenes, I've always found that it's better to be a bit boring using the character's name, which the reader will skim, than to confuse the reader as to who is doing what action. This stops the reading process completely which is the one thing a writer should avoid at all costs.

As in real life, you shouldn't overuse characters' names to address each other in dialogue, either. 

Names are most often used at the beginning of a conversation as people greet each other. "Hello, Mary, how are you?" 

Or they're used to impart important or emotional information. "He's dead, Jim."

Or to direct conversation at one person in a group of people. "What's your opinion about this, Fred?"

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Links of Interest

WHY MAGIC SHOULD HAVE RULES AND CONSEQUENCES, WORLDBUILDING:


FOUR QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN YOUR STORY IS STUCK:


FOUR COMMON MEDICAL MISTAKES MADE IN FICTON:


FORENSICS, CAN DNA TELL US WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE?


THE STRUCTURE OF THE FINAL ACT OF YOUR NOVEL:


REVISION, YOU SHOULD SWEAT THE SMALL THINGS:


MAKING THE BAD GUY SEEM GOOD:


THE RHYTHM OF WRITING PROSE:


BACKSTORY:


SAVING THOSE THINGS YOU CUT OUT OF THE BOOK:


HOW PLOT IS LIKE A THREE-STRAND BRAID:


SETTING AND POV:


THE VALUE OF MIRROR CHARACTERS AND EVENTS:


THE BACKSTORY RULE OF THREE:



Monday, April 6, 2015

The Minor Character

A minor character is a character who makes one or two appearances in a story, or if he has more appearances, he has no real character growth. He can be anything from the stable boy who tends the horses to the best friend’s brother who has a few comic moments.

Here are things to consider when you have minor characters in a scene. 

If all the characters in a scene are minor to the plot, you need to ask yourself whether you need the scene.  

If the scene is only there to tell readers something about the main character, then you should move it to a scene that is necessary with characters who are more important.  

If the person is familiar to the point-of-view character, very little physical description is needed unless the physical description has importance in the scene.  

For example, Jim studies his friends and decides to take Fred with him to meet the bad guy because Fred is built like a linebacker and is good in a physical fight.

However, if it's in the heroine's viewpoint, and she's introduced to the hero's friends, she will pay attention to what they look like and their names so more physical detail is needed.

If the scene needs a waitress who adds nothing to the scene beyond taking the food order, you can use some line like "the waitress took their order and left."  

If the hero is flirting with the waitress to make the heroine jealous, then a bit more of a physical description may be needed and a bit more personality if the character flirts back.