Thursday, August 20, 2009

My New Book: A Romance: NaNoWriMo Sequel

As you know, I've started a new book, a romance, quite the jump from horror/thriller. I've got about 42,000 words and 85 pages so far. I'm pretty obsessed with it and spend all my free time writing and when I drive, I talk over scenes that I want to write. I'm really pretty psyched. As I told you, it's been in my head for years, but now new things are happening too which is fun and a little frustrating if it complicates my story line too much. It's complicated enough.

So, for NaNoWriMo I've decided to write the sequel to my first NaNo Novel. Won't that be fun. I'm going to start outlining as soon as I finish editing the first one. lol That's the update for now, but I have a new website for you to check out with some good tips and information on it. The Write Place.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Freelance Folly, New Books and Point of View

Well as you all know, I've been working on these two ebook deals. Unfortunately, I think I may have queered them by bringing up the broker in the context of the second deal. See, I get my work through a broker, and that broker has a contract with everyone who uses them, employer or employee, that if you make your contact through the broker, you use the broker for further jobs as well. So anyway, I haven't heard from them since. I hate that, don't you? You try to do what's right and you get nailed for it. This isn't the first time either. So, now it's back to the drawing board, gotta get some jobs.

I'm writing a new book while I'm still editing my first one. Crazy huh? But it's been in my head for years and I just couldn't wait any more. I hope I get the draft done before NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writing Month) in November. I have to come up with another novel idea - in each sense of the word - to write my NaNo book. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That's really more like a Novella, but still. I did it last year, that's how I got my first novel and why I'm working so hard to edit it. I'm trying to expand it as well as make corrections etc. I want to add new scenes. I just don't know where to put them, the novel is pretty tight right now. However, there is some room at the end to do some work, so I can get in there and play.

Today I have an article for you on point of view. I hope it is of benefit. Enjoy!

Spare the Garlic
Billie Williams

Excerpt from Spice Up Your Writing: Write to Entice


When you write, spare the garlic. You can separate the garlic bulb into cloves. Each clove has the potential to distance your reader as its strength does not diminish merely because its size does. Therefore keep in mind each word, sentence, paragraph, chapter needs to be written with the reader in mind. Your reader wants no garlic between him and the characters in your book. (Unless of course your main character is a vampire – but that’s another story.)

Writing from the heart allows you to put some of yourself into your writing. I’m not suggesting using yourself as a character, though every character you write probably does have some element of you in it. Think of your characters as your children, off spring, your cloves separated from the parent garlic to be planted alone to become more of what they once were. The seed of what you want them to be.

Most all writing courses and many books on writing cover point of view. In the analogy of garlic to reader, point of view is their reaction to the amount of garlic you use. Point of view according to James Frey just refers to where the narrator stands in relation to the other characters and to the events in the story, i.e., who is holding the camera and the microphone. Are you standing close enough so that your reader needs to focus where you want him/her to?

For instance first person, the “I” as in Susan Isaacs Shining Through viewpoint limits the author’s ability as to how he can impart story knowledge to the reader, but it pulls the reader in close to the character that is the “I”. The reader begins to feel a closeness, a friendship with the character whereas the first person objective narrator holds the reader at arms length. Elizabeth George in Write Away uses an example from Ernest Hemingway’s Indian Camp as a sample of this type of narrator. Or you may look at Stephen King’s The Dead Zone for how this is done.
Both authors know how to use the first person objective narrator creating an aura of intrigue about a character or situation. This view point offers the reader the least degree of intimacy.
The objective Viewpoint remains outside the character at all times. Writing journalistically, like a reporter, like a cop on the beat, “just the facts ma’am”—the writer/narrator gives only the facts in this view point. This viewpoint gives up a portion of control over the readers as well as all attempts to manipulate him. Objective viewpoint offers the reader the least degree of intimacy as we said before. Its purpose is to keep readers at a distance from the story, to make them critical observers of the events.

Omniscient View Point: narrator is the one who knows, sees, and hears all with rather god-like authority. This narrator knows the inner workings of all the characters. This viewpoint gives the writer the freedom to explore everything and anything that supports the novel’s theme, furthers the plot, or reveals characters. These are the decided advantages of this point of view.
The omniscient narrator sounds like a story teller. Able to impart a sense of history behind his/her characters and at the same time revealing something about them such as what’s in their hearts or minds and gives the narrator more control over the story. Alice Hoffman’s book Second Nature is but one example of this type of narrator/viewpoint.

Then we have multiple Character Viewpoints: That is deciding to tell the story through one or more characters who are taking an active part in the story. Evan Marshall’s The Marshall Plan For Novel Writing shows you how to use this method effectively. In this view point you limit yourself to revealing only what your chosen viewpoint character would see, know, think, or feel in each scene in which he/she is participating. You can change viewpoint character when you change a scene if you wish, or a paragraph, but use care here to avoid head hoping. This does however; give you freedom to know more, to impart more to your reader.

Compare the single or the multiple viewpoint first person. In the first person, the narrator stays with one narrator throughout the story which gives the reader the opportunity to identify strongly with the character. It creates a sense of intimacy and adds to the authenticity of the novel.

Using the third person single viewpoint character, the narrator sees through the eyes of one character as he/she and all events are filtered through this single character’s consciousness. You write about the character, other than capturing his/her tone you do not adopt his persona or walk in his skin. The advantage of this narrator is that it invites the reader to become intimate with one character whose motivation can be thoroughly explored. The challenge of this viewpoint is he/she needs to be present in every scene for you to present it to your reader. If this character isn’t in a scene, you can’t present it to your reader.

A third person narrator flits like an invisible bird says Orson Scott Card in Characters and Viewpoint. “This narrator is a story teller, plain and simple; we ignore her and listen to the tale.”
Closeness implies an examination of the workings of the character’s mind. Distance implies an observation of his actions.

Points to remember
First Person – must reveal the narrator’s character – it is distance in time—tells the story looking backward.

Third Person—is distance in space—never a person who is actually there—always an invisible observer.

The omniscient narrator can tell more story and reveal more character in less time that it takes the limited third person narrator. That’s the greatest advantage.

Limited third person can’t let readers see as many different things in a short period of time, but it gives readers more intimacy, more up close and personal time.

The overwhelming majority of fiction today uses the limited third person narrator. Most readers read for the sake of story. They want to immerse themselves in the lives of the character, and for that purpose, limited third person is best combining flexibility of omniscient with the intensity of the first person.

To read some more examples of these two narrative viewpoints see the following:

1st person – The Last Film of Emile Vico, by Thomas Gavin

Omniscient – Unicorn Mountain, by Michael Bishop

Which, according to Orson Scott Card in his book Character and Viewpoint are some of the very best examples around.

1. Write a paragraph using the first person – the “I” narrator.

2. Re-write that paragraph turning it into one done by the omniscient view point narrator.

3. Re-write a second time this time using the limited third person narrator.

Can you see and feel the difference? Which feels more natural to you? It is good to experiment with writing in various view points. If you are stuck and a scene or story isn’t working very often if you switch viewpoint characters you will be able to continue probably creating a better narrative at the same time.
Now you can get all three of Billie's books – “Writing Wide: Exercises in Creative Writing,” “Spice Up Your Writing: Write to Entice,” and “Characters in Search of an Author” – as an instant download for a special discount. All the details are here: