Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Narratives. What's the big deal?

That tiny word can evoke fear from writers and readers, alike. And, I am no exception to that fear. 

Recently, I embarked on a joint writing endeavor with fellow authors, Jennifer Malone Wright and Willow Cross entitled Beary Tales. After countless hours of discussion, mapping and planning-- we decided that this particular story needed to be told from a third person omniscient point of view. 

Naturally... I freaked. Yes, I know I said we agreed this P.O.V. was necessary for the story, but it was also my very first time writing in that P.O.V. and all of my fears bubbled up to the surface. 

I guess maybe I should backtrack a little first... some of you out there might not understand the subtle and not so subtle differences in P.O.V.'s. 

I'm going to give you a shortcut to the definitions of all them. :) On Grossmont College's edu site, Creative Writing Instructor, Karl Sherlock posted THIS article explaining them. Take a few minutes and peruse that piece and then come back here.

Back? Awesome! Okay, now allow me to tell you why I freaked. Typically I write in a first person subjective/limited point of view. And, always in a past tense. Which means I write from one characters point of view-- what he/she feels sees, experiences, thinks, and smells is how my story is told. At the time that I'm writing that story... I AM that character. For me, it lends to the credibility of my story, the character's story. It also allows the reader to connect with our main hero/heroine because the main character is talking to the reader like a friend would speak to them. 

When you write a story from a third person point of view, the narrator is an all seeing God of sorts. The narrator tells us the story-- our narrator tells us what each character feels, sees, hears, smells and experiences... but also... their own observations as well. For me it's harder to connect with our m/c(s) and if not done properly, it's confusing as hell!

Personally, I also have a difficult time connecting with characters that are written in the present tense (I pick up the..., I look at the..., etc). THIS is an awesome article on the pros and cons of past/present tense writing. I found it extremely helpful and you may also.

Willow, Jenn and I are well into our story now, and I've learned so many helpful tips, tricks and methodologies in writing third person from them. I will be forever grateful. Because of this, I've expanded my writing abilities and have grown as an author. And, that's what all of us strive for, right? :) Feel free to post a comment about your favorite narrative and why in the section below!

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As always, until next time...

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