HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2
Results 11 to 16 of 16
  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Elkins Park PA
    Posts
    343
    Meretis reached the end of the passage. Good, the furies hadn’t follow him…or maybe they had a different plan. He opened the exit hatch just a crack, and peeked through. For now, the low hill that lead to Astia’s home was was clear, but he was concerned about two things: how fast could the furies track him, and did he want to risk stepping out in the grassy field of the area where he’d be completely vulnerable. His only concealment would be tall, white stones that stood scattered along the hillside.
    You begin in his viewpoint, but then switch to that of the narrator as soon as you begin explaining, with "but he was concerned about two things." This is, clearly you, stepping on stage and talking to the reader, which stills the scene clock and kills the momentum you've built. Why not keep it in his viewpoint, as it matters to him, in the moment it matters? Something like. But how fast the furies could track him was unknown, so stepping out into the open field was asking for trouble. The white boulders scattered along the hillside seemed the only option, but...
    He hadn't heard the entrance hatch breaking--it would have echoed in the tunnel--but that didn't make him feel any safer.
    Again, the viewpoint is external, and thus dispassionate. We're not "looking over his shoulder" as he makes the decisions, we're reading a synopsis, presented by a voice we can't hear, and thus, is emotion free. But rephrasing into his viewpoint is simple, with something like, "The tunnel's entrance was still intact. The sound of it being smashed would have echoed through the tunnel. That thought didn't bring confidence, but it did say he probably had at least xx minutes of safety—if he stopped dithering and got moving."

    Not your story, or characters. Nor is it more than a quick example of a tighter viewpoint. Presented that way, though, we know what he takes into account, and what/why his decisions were made. And that gives the feeling of participating rather then reading a report.
    He quickly re-concealed the outer hatch with some nearby stones and dirt, then ran the straightest path to Astia’s hut.
    Here, you're giving visual details that work in a film, but on the page serve only to slow the narrative. Every unnecessary word you remove quickens the action. Fewer words = more punch.

    Why is "quickly" necessary here? We already know he's in a hurry, so isn't it assumed he'll work quickly? Adverbs are useful, but many can be removed because they're demonstration words in speech. You'd might say the word "slowly" as "sloooowly," were you telling the story aloud and the protagonist deliberately slowed down. Here, you'd emphasize the word quickly. But on the page how you would speak the word is unknowable.

    What does "re-" add to concealed? He concealed the hatch. And even then, does it matter to the plot or develop character? And why mention that it's "the outer hatch."? Isn't that inherent in concealing it from the outside? And why do we care what he concealed it with? We want him to get to what matters to the plot.

    In general, you're writing well. But too often you intrude, when your function is to stay in the control room, throwing things at your protagonist that will force him into action, and screw things up every time he thinks he's got a handle on the situation.

    If you've not read it, this article is the best condensation I've found of a very strong approach for placing the reader into the protagonist's viewpoint.

    Hang in there, and keep on writing

    Jay Greenstein

    Our goal isn't to make the reader know the character is frightened, it's to terrify the reader.
    Last edited by Jay Greenstein; 09-10-2016 at 01:37 PM.



  2. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    37
    Fantastic tips on the viewpoint, Jay. I even jotted it in my Scrivener notes section. I feel I stay in view most of the time, but you've just shown me how I can slip out. Now I'll be more aware.

  3. #13
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by leedix View Post
    Now I'll be more aware.
    Now you know...and knowing is half the battle!

  4. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    37
    That's too true, Mutt. What's really bad is when you're made aware and don't listen. Progression comes to a halt.

  5. #15
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by leedix View Post
    That's too true, Mutt.
    Those GI JOE writers were geniuses. Hahaha

  6. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    37
    Lol!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts