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Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 12: Whose Eyes?

Welcome back! Over the next many months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month twelve:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 12: Whose Eyes?

Here’s what I love about reading novels. They give me the opportunity to see the world through another person’s eyes. For a novelist to provide that great joy to his readers, he has to develop full and believable characters and then choose how to convey the thoughts and ideas of those characters on the written page. That choice is all about point of view (POV).

 

In determining POV, every writer has two main options, first person or third person. We’ll talk about variations, like second person,  in a later blog post, but today let’s keep it simple.

 

First Person POV: I went for a nice walk, and I saw a pretty flower.

 

Third Person POV: She went for a nice walk, and she saw a pretty flower.

 

I know, I know, the two sentences above deserve trashing for multiple reasons, but let’s not complicate matters. Two choices. That seems pretty straight forward. So how do you decide which is best for your novel? Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that, but I can tell you how I decide which POV is best for my novels.

 

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I consider these four things:

 

1. The usual POV in which my genre is presented.

 

2. My preference.

 

3. The strengths and weaknesses of each POV.

 

4. The unique characters in my novel.

 

So let’s talk about #1 – the usual POVs for some common genres. In my next “Writing the Third Dimension,” I’ll discuss numbers 2 through 4.

 

Historical fiction is usually presented in third person POV. That’s because historical fiction often paints on a wide canvas, and most authors prefer to open the minds of many characters to their readers. Multiple third person POVs are less awkward and, to most readers, more “believable” than multiple first person POVs.

 

Mysteries and Who-Done-Its boast a wide variety of sub-genres. Because of the differing requirements in each of these sub-genres, readers will find some novels presented in first person POV and others in third person. If the novelist wants the main character to be as stumped by the mystery as the reader, she will often choose first person POV. If the writer wants to present what happened from multiple viewpoints, he will often choose third person POV.

 

Romance novels are built on a foundation of strong emotions. They are often presented in first person POV, which is able to convey emotions at a very intense level.

 

Young Adult novels are often told from first person POV because of that same strong emotional bond the writer is trying to forge between a main character and the reader.

 

Action-Adventure is another genre that is split between both POVs, but if the novel has only one main character, authors often choose first person POV.

 

Children’s novels, those first chapter books, are also usually written in first person POV, and that is done to help young children bond more easily with the main character.

 

Feel free to add to our genre list. Do you have a reading preference for POV?

 

Enjoy the Journey!

 

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

 

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you come back February 27, 2014 for part 13.

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Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 11: Break Dance!

Welcome! Over the next many months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month eleven:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 11: Break Dance!
I don’t hear much about one of the major rules for novelists. SCHEDULE BREAK TIMES!

Yes, you DO need to schedule definite writing times. Once a week or three times a week or every day, whatever works for you. Maybe you write for an hour or three hours or eight. (Don’t burn yourself out, by the way!) Some of my writer friends give themselves a goal of words written rather than time spent writing. The important thing is to establish a definite writing schedule. Maybe a dentist appointment will intrude but definitely not laziness or the dreaded “I’d Rather Not” Syndrome. That’s a novel killer for sure.

However, writers do need breaks.

If you’re reading the “Writing the Third Dimension” posts as I write them, that means that we’re closing in on the December holiday season.

PC240246 (This is a photo of my daughter, granddaughter, and my mom!)

I usually don’t write the last two weeks of December. During the rest of the year, I also break for Sundays, vacation trips, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Thanksgiving weekend, and a few other odds and ends along the way, including a week between finishing one book and starting the next.  The important thing is that these are SCHEDULED  BREAKS. I’m not cheating on my writing time. Once you begin to cheat on your writing time, it’s very difficult to get back into a disciplined routine.

Novelists function like marathon runners. Sustained discipline is often the only difference between success and failure. For the novelist, failure doesn’t have anything to do with publication or lack thereof. Failure is failing to finish when you suspect the book you’re writing is good enough to merit completion. (And I’m assuming here that your life situation and your health remains stable.)

In honor of the holiday season, and with Lynn’s agreement, I’m taking a December break from “Writing the Third Dimension” and will dedicate most of my December time to preparing for the holidays: sewing dresses for my granddaughter’s dolls, baking, cleaning, practicing songs for Christmas performances, wrapping gifts, writing holiday cards, having a houseful of guests and, and, and…

Meanwhile to all of you, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to connecting with all of you again on January 23rd. Holidays are fun but it’s always great to get back to writing!

What breaks do you schedule in your writing time?

Happy Writing and Many Blessings!

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you come back January 23, 2014, for part 12.

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 10: The Writer as Actor

Welcome! Over the next many months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month ten:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 10: The Writer as Actor

In my first three Alaska novels, my characters do not sit on chairs. They don’t even sit cross-legged on the ground; they squat on their haunches. This is a very typical pose for people who live without furniture, but the problem is, other than on a few camping trips, I’ve lived with furniture all my life. So to write about my ancient Aleut people, I had to learn how to sit on my haunches. It wasn’t easy, but, by learning, I avoided having my characters do something that would not work physically.  In effect, I became an actor and acted out the “sitting on haunches” portions of the novel. Since then, when I’m writing a scene, I often get up from my chair and act it out right in my office. It’s amazing how much more convincing and realistic your words will be if you back your scenes with a healthy dose of “acting out.”

Janet_Marie_Chvatal_'Sissi'

Here are a few acting tips that might help you as you write your novel:

1. If you are writing fight scenes and have no experience in that particular arena of life, take a self-defense class. It sure helped me write more realistic and gritty fight scenes.

2. Don’t be afraid to take up a new hobby. If your main character sews quilts, buy a book, take a class, do a little quilting.

3. Use your mirror. Imagine yourself angry and look at your face in the mirror. What are you doing with your eyes? Your mouth? Your eyebrows? Don’t get overly descriptive. A word or two will do.

4. Enlist your DVD player. Watch a good movie and check out how the actors express their emotions. Replay scenes that catch your heart and keep a pad handy to jot down the first words that come to mind as you watch the actors laugh, cry, express anger, fear, dread, etc.

5. Watch babies and young children. They haven’t yet learned to guard their feelings by masking facial expressions. They are the exaggerated versions of adult facial behavior.

6. Read articles or even a book about body language.  My husband, a high school principal, had a training session in how to tell if people are lying. He shared the information with me, and since then it’s appeared in subtle ways in my short stories and my novels.  The Internet abounds with resources. Take an hour or so  and have fun learning how people express emotions with body language.

7. Pay attention to hands and feet. A person might have a good poker face, but his/her hands and fingers, feet and toes are “saying” what s/he really feels.

The next time you sit down to write, remember, you’re not only a writer; you’re an actor. Stride boldly onto the stage and become your characters!

Have fun! Any questions?

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you to come back November 28, 2013, for part 11.

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 9: Sing out!

Welcome! Over the next many months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month nine:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 9: Sing Out!

Few things convey a writer’s skill more dramatically than Voice.  For something that is so important, Voice is difficult to define, but let me give it a try.  (You knew I would, right?) Voice is the “person” you hear talking in your head as you read a book.  I know that sounds rather strange, but that’s what Voice is to me – the narrator/storyteller/magic genie/ Pooh Bear/ crocodile who speaks to me from the pages. (Crocodile? Sorry. This was the best photo of a mouth that I could find…)

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When a reader begins reading your novel, or agents or editors are taking that first look at your unpublished manuscript, a strong Voice will keep them reading past the first paragraph.

Here are a few quotes from authors who are gifted with strong Voices:

1.  “When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen.” Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden. (A tongue-in-cheek sentence that foreshadows both the serious and the humorous sides of this classic children’s book. The lack of a comma after the word uncle carries a subtle message that this book and its characters don’t always obey the rules.)

2.   “Awake! For Morning in the Bowl of Night Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight: And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.” The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald. (The meter and rhymes support the exotic, visual, and poetic nature of this work.)

3.  “Marley was dead, to begin with.  There is no doubt whatever about that.  The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner.”  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. (Short to-the-point sentences and short phrases separated by commas tell the reader that the life portrayed in this novel is harsh, and that the writer is an honest man about to relate important facts and truths of life.)

So, how do we get there (writing with a strong Voice) from here (no Voice yet established)?

First, and most importantly, we need to decide what aura we hope to convey. Let’s consider the possibilities. Where is the novel set?  What type of speech will that location suggest to our readers? Do we want our readers to hear an accent in the narrator’s words?  Is the theme of the novel something soft or harsh? What is the genre? (Genres generally have a general type of voice. Detective novels often use a quick, to-the-point voice. Romances may have more flowery and flowing voices. However, exceptions sometimes make a novel noteworthy.)

Second, we should search out published books with a similar theme or setting or in the same genre. Then the fun part: read, read, read. Their words in our heads combined with our natural writing “personality” will help us choose the best devices to use as we develop our novel’s Voice.

Here’s a list of devices.  Long phrases or short phrases.  Lots of commas or a dearth of commas.  Long and short sentences and combinations thereof.  Alliteration of words; the rhythm of our sentences; creative punctuation. Fancy words, short words, old-fashioned sounding words, modern words, made-up words.  Short or long paragraphs. Following all the rules of grammar religiously, or breaking a few rules here and there. Contractions (casual) or no contractions (formal). I’m sure you can think of more.

With my first novel Mother Earth Father Sky, I spent a month working on the Voice and used my studies of Native American languages to help me establish a general rhythm (short, short, long — a poet would say “anapestic”) that follows Native speech patterns.

Then I wrote one page. I rewrote it until I liked it, and then I read that page out loud.  And rewrote again. And read it out loud again. For days, I worked on that one page until I knew that my narrator was “speaking” my novel with a distinct Voice that conveyed my theme, my setting, and my point-of-view characters’ mindsets. Then I printed out that page and kept it handy. Each time I sat down to write, I skimmed the page and settled that Voice back into my head. That’s what worked for me. Maybe it will work for you!

Any questions or comments? How do you develop a Voice for your work?

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you come back October 24, 2013, for part 10.

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 8: Patchwork

Welcome! Over the next many months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month eight:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 8: Patchwork

When I was about seven years old, my Grandma Kate made me a quilt for my doll. Exquisitely pieced with tiny hand stitches, that quilt is one of my most precious possessions. Each square is about one inch by one inch, and scattered throughout are squares that are plain red, but the other squares are from my grandmother’s dresses, and my grandfather’s shirts and pajamas. The variety is lovely, and the red squares, although scattered without a fixed design, unite the others into a cohesive whole. As I write this, the quilt lies in the center of my dining room table, background for a lovely piece of Belgian lace and an old-fashioned-looking oil lamp. I smile each time I look at the table. What a treasure my grandmother gave to me.

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Writers also need to use patchwork as they compose their novels. Last month in my Writing the Third Dimension blog post, I explained how important it is to allow readers to “see” most description through the characters’ eyes, rather than as a narration from the writer’s point-of-view. I did mention that there were exceptions, and that’s what we’ll discuss today – exceptions. Legitimate reasons exist for brief patchwork bits of narration that don’t come directly from a character’s viewpoint. Here are the most common:

1. At the beginning of a novel before a character is introduced. It’s very tempting to write a page or two or three, but this type of narration should be limited to a sentence or two or three. Otherwise, your reader is going to get bored and stop reading before getting into the real story.

2. To allow a reader to catch his or her breath in a very intense, suspenseful scene. A sentence is usually enough to do the trick and give a pacing pause that actually increases the suspense for most readers.

3. When the reader needs a quick “you are here” logistical placement.

4. If you are using multiple points-of-view within your novel, and you are moving the narrative out of one character’s head, or point-of-view, into another’s. Without that bit of even ground between, it’s uncomfortable and confusing for the reader.

5. If there is some information that your point-of-view character does not know (a bit of history or even something that will happen in the future), but that will enrich your reader’s experience. This is tricky and shouldn’t happen often within a novel, if at all. Again use that one- to three-sentence limit to keep your reader in the story.

6. The information you are presenting doesn’t merit more than a sentence.

Novelists will find themselves confronted with nearly all of these situations in each book they write. They’re the ‘patchwork’ stuff, but as the writer you don’t want them to sound patchy. You want them to blend in, and the best way to do that is the same way a good quilter sews a quilt – with tiny inconspicuous stitches.

Okay, I can hear your question right now. What does that mean within the context of a novel?

1. Don’t get out your thesaurus. Use normal everyday words.

2. Make your point and then jump into a character’s point-of-view or a dialog.

3. Avoid complex sentences.

There you have it. A reason to break the rules and how to do so inconspicuously. Maybe it’s time to add here that one of the biggest mistakes new novelists make is adhering too rigidly to the rules, and someday we’ll talk about that, too!

My question for you: When you give someone directions or describe something, do you tend to be long-winded or to-the-point?

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you come back September 26, 2013 for part 9.

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 7: I or He or is it Me?

Welcome! Over the next many months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month seven:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 7: I or He or is it Me?

Decisions, decisions…

When you are writing a novel,  decisions are part of the process. One of the most important decisions you as a novelist have to make is how to present your main character(s) to your readers. That presentation is commonly known as point-of-view. You will see point-of-view abbreviated in many writers’ blogs and how-to books as pov.

With pov you have two basic choices – first person point-of-view and third person point-of-view.

I went for a walk, and I met my enemy. First person pov

He went for a walk, and he met his enemy. Third person pov

Now you can get a little fancy or funky and use second person, but second person (You go for a walk and you meet your enemy.) is generally used within the context of a first person point-of-view presentation or, on occasion, to convey the thoughts of a character being presented in the third-person-point-of-view. So we’ll delegate a discussion of second person point-of-view to  another time and another place.

To make your pov decision, you need to know what each pov offers to your novel, because they both have strengths and weaknesses. Let’s talk about some of those.

First Person Point-of-View Strengths:

  • First person generally pulls the reader into the protagonist’s mind more quickly, so the reader identifies more easily with the main character.
  • First person is often best for readers who prefer their novels to follow only one main character.
  • First person is usually (not always) the POV of choice for literary novels because stream-of-consciousness and an unusual “voice” (My next “Writing the Third Dimension” will be about voice.) are often very important to literary novels, and for most novelists stream-of-consciousness and an unusual voice are more easily achieved through first person pov presentations.
  • First person is often used for mysteries in which the novelist wants both the reader and the protagonist to be struggling to figure out who-dun-it.
  • Novelists who write in the young adult genre often use first person pov because a certain percentage of their readers are not reading by choice. They are reading by assignment, and thus they are more antagonistic to characters and plot. A first person presentation, with its limited pov and strong emotional pull, captures them more easily.

Third Person Point-of-View Strengths:

  • In multi-character novels with a wide historical or geographic scope, third person pov makes for an easier presentation of extensive ideas and a wide variety of cultures and characters.
  • With third person pov, the reader feels more distance between himself/herself and the characters, which means the writer can more readily present some of the action through the eyes and mind of a villain without grossing out a sensitive reader. This is a who-is-your-audience situation and will depend on your novel’s genre. In the horror genre, writers don’t hesitate to convey a villain’s thoughts from a first person pov. In an inspirational genre, that might not work so well.
  • In some suspense and mystery novels, the writer wants the reader to know what is going on while the protagonist remains clueless. In third person pov, secondary characters can provide information through conversations or thoughts that are presented to the reader but not to  the protagonist.

First Person Point-of-View Weaknesses:

  • Some readers refuse to read books written in first person pov. This is a personal preference, but I’ve yet to find a reader who refuses to read a book written in third person pov.
  • The writer can’t suddenly hop into another character’s mind in first person pov. If the character telling the story doesn’t know some fact, that character can’t suddenly present that fact to the reader. Now I know there are successful exceptions to this rule, but 98% of the time, in first person pov, if the main character doesn’t know something then it can’t be presented to the reader.
  • In first person pov, it’s very easy to fall into “telling” the story rather than “showing” what’s going on. If this concept is confusing to you, please refer to my last “Writing the Third Dimension” post (June 2013)  entitled “20/20.”

Third Person Point-of-View Weaknesses:

  • In third person pov, it sometimes takes a reader longer to feel an emotional bond with the main characters.
  • Novels written in third person are often more complex in plot, which for some readers is a disadvantage.

When I’m deciding which point-of-view to use in a short story or a novel, I sometimes write the first chapter both ways. Then I can tell which one flows better, and I make my decision according to that.

Point-of-view is a complex topic, so, if I’ve managed to do nothing more than confuse you, please feel free to ask questions. Otherwise, as a reader, do you have a preference – first person point-of-view or third person point-of-view?

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you come back August 22, 2013, for part 8.

Sue Harrison’s “Writing the Third Dimension” – part 6: 20/20 vision

Welcome! Over the next many months we invite you to return here, specifically on the fourth Thursday of each month for the newest installment of Sue Harrison‘s teaching: Writing The Third Dimension. You can read all the segments by clicking on the page title WRITING THE THIRD DIMENSION, found under Writers’ Helps & Workshops on the drop-down menu. Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments for Sue. Now for the topic for month six:

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“Writing the Third Dimension” – part 6: 20/20

This post is one of the most important in our series, “Writing The Third Dimension,” so “listen up” (as one of my favorite teachers used to say.)  Employing the following technique can turn an ordinary novel into that book you just can’t put down.

For years this technique was a secret owned by only the most elite bestselling novelists, but then somebody normal – like you and me – figured it out, and now we can all use it to our advantage. Hooray!

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That secret is to allow the reader to see life through the 20/20 vision of the character’s eyes instead of the one-person-removed vision of the author. It’s all about showing, not telling. Showing is more difficult to do, but every time an author forsakes the showing approach for the easier and quicker I’ll-just-tell-you method, the reader is shortchanged and the story suffers.

Compare these two paragraphs: (Warning: neither one is great literature. I’m just trying to prove my point!)

1) A deep scum-covered pond lapped against the steps of the back porch. The whole house leaned toward the water as though it would someday sink beneath the dark surface. A tangle of willow trees grew at the edges of the pond, obscuring it from anyone on the road.

2) Devon stepped out on the back porch. His throat tightened. The whole backyard was a dark scum-covered pond. Water lapped against the porch steps, and Devon felt his feet slide against the rotting boards. He grabbed the porch rail. He couldn’t swim. If he fell in, he would never get out, and the tangle of willow that grew around the pond was so thick that no one on the road would ever see him.

Paragraph one doesn’t pull you in like paragraph two. Why? Paragraph one is description only. Paragraph two adds the sweet spice of emotion, because the reader is seeing the scene through the character’s eyes.

It’s hard for an author to admit, but characters are usually a lot more interesting than any author ever could be. When my readers pick up one of my novels about Alaska, 7000 B.C., they  don’t want to hear about it from someone who has never been there (like Sue Harrison). They want to hear about it from someone who is living there right now (like the woman Chagak in Mother Earth Father Sky).

I suggest that you practice the writing skill of showing-not-telling by looking through your own manuscript or through a book you are reading. When you find a paragraph of pure description (There are times when pure description is needed – a later post about that!) , rewrite it from a character’s up-close, 20/20, emotion-drenched point of view!

Have fun! Any questions?

Sue

*Writing the Third Dimension, copyright, 2010 Sue Harrison*

Sue HarrisonBestselling author, Sue Harrison, has written two Alaska trilogies: The Ivory Carver Trilogy and The Storyteller Trilogy, and a middle readers’ book SISU. Prior to the publication of her novels, Harrison was employed at Lake Superior State University as a writer and acting director of the Public Relations Department and as an adjunct instructor in creative writing and advanced creative writing. For more information, click here. To inquire about booking Sue for workshops or speaking engagements this year, click here.

Thanks for joining us! Please feel free to leave your questions and comments. We invite you come back July 25, 2013, for part 7.