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Part instruction, brainstorming, motivation, & critique, our supportive group meets the second and fourth Saturday of the month and is user-friendly, inspirational, and empowering. Every woman deserves a room of her own.

"As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move...similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle."~Honore de Balzac

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Voice & POV


Last Saturday we discussed the all important "voice" in writing and that leads, of course, to point of view. What captures the reader is the "voice" and this voice is a way to develop your point of view narration in fiction. The right voice will pull the reader into the story quickly and hold him or her throughout. Sometimes in straight narrative you might use your author voice. This technique distances the reader and is more of an omniscent approach.

I like the intimate approach. When you set a scene in a story in the more limited way, it should be depicted through the eyes of your point of view narrator. New writers get confused when it comes to voice and point of view. They assume by naming the characters and giving a bit of description about them they've done enough. Just describing all that's happening from a distance doesn't hook the reader unless you're an awfully good writer.

Be careful in choosing your POV narrator. Sometimes this character is a sidekick of the protagonist; sometimes it's the antagonist, but most often it is the protagonist himself or herself. If you're using the tighter POV narration where the entire story is seen through the eyes of one character, you're probably writing in first person or third person limited. Here the narrator has no way of knowing what's in the heads of other characters. The author must drop little clues through dialogue and action. Personally, I prefer this style of narration. It's much more fun.

A big mistake new writers constantly make is to jump from one point of view to another and that only confuses the reader. Changing your POV is fine in a chapter as long as the reader understands what you're doing. Be cautious though. Don't get us hooked via the narrator and then suddenly come on with your Godly author voice. It won't work. If you want to change the point of view in a novel, you might consider having a different narrator for each chapter.

Some writers take an acting class to learn how to get into the head of the POV narrator. Others get out of their chairs and act out the scene. Be true to your character. How does he talk? Act? Does he cuss or fidget or avoid conflict? Is she a total flake, clumsy, but clever? Know your characters! If you really know and understand your POV narrator, then you will remain true to the voice. This is important whether you're writing fiction, biography, and even memoir. Many in our group are writing memories of childhood. They are developing or becoming reacquainted with their childhood selves and voices. The charm and innocence and curiosity about childhood is coming through because of the "voice."

People think just getting all the facts down on paper is enough in story. It's good to do that because it "get's 'er done," but be sure to go back and analyze your point of view character. Have you captured the voice? If not, then you most likely don't know that character intimately enough and need to get better acquainted.

Characters become our best friends, our siblings, our lovers. We obsess over our characters. Once you know them well enough, you'll begin to hear their voices talking in your head. That's a good sign you're headed in the right direction. Writing comes alive through voice.

Enjoy the process and the product will be better.

1 comment:

pegasus752 said...

Maryann, I appreciate your suggestions about how to develop voice, such as role playing and being aware of the connections with POV. -Melissa