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Posts tagged ‘POV’

First Monday Mentoring June 2018 – more ways to unblock your writing

Over the last two Monday Mentoring blogs, I’ve explored two sides of the same coin – how do you generate ideas when your mind is blank, and how do you get your muse to show up reliably.

Recently an American Facebook friend and reader of this blog, Marion, said her muse had been MIA for ages, and she was thinking of firing her. Eating chocolate cake was mentioned as an alternative to writing.

I reminded her of the need to be kind to your muse, really your creative inner self. Instead of firing her, I recommended sharing the chocolate cake with Musie, as Marion calls her.

Not a good idea to leave Muse out of the fun

As an aside, I like that she gave Musie an identity, bringing her to life. Another writer calls her muse Rafe, a name that sounds darkly handsome and heroic, the ideal inspiration for a writer of romance novels.

Musie sounds like fun, someone you can hang out and play with – and share chocolate cake. I’m also curious about the name being one letter away from Music because Marion is a talented musician who plays regularly at historical recreation events. Perhaps Musie/Music serves a dual role in Marion’s creative life.

Well, she was smart enough to go with the notion, “sharing” the chocolate cake with Musie. The two of them not only reconnected, but Marion was sufficiently inspired to make progress with her current writing project.

She says Musie still isn’t talking but has hinted that maybe the heroine knows – and can’t stand – the hero because of something that happened in the past. This creates tension and puzzles the hero who is too busy worrying about the safety of his daughter to wonder about the heroine’s concerns. Some of these ideas were already in train when Marion sat down with Musie. But Marion had seen herself as stuck and, as many of us do, blamed the muse for being uncooperative.

 

Muse loves playing games

As a certain sci-fi villain says, resistance is futile. Being tough on your muse is the least likely way to gain their help. Most people including musae* resist being forced to do anything, or else we do it grudgingly and not give it our best.  *Marion tells me this is the plural of muse

If you want your muse – the creative part of your subconscious mind – to deliver exciting and challenging ideas you can work up into stories, it helps to be gentle. A slice of cake doesn’t hurt, either. Here are some more ways you can encourage your muse to cooperate:

Change how you work

If you usually work on a screen, try writing notes on a clipboard, a tablet or in an exercise book. You can use different backgrounds to suit the story mood – pink for romance, blue for sci-fi, green for something environmental, for example.

Change your approach

Take the pressure off by recording your thoughts. Phrase the content any old way; talking as if to a friend. If recording makes you self-conscious, and I confess it does for me, you might write in the form of a letter, a Facebook post or a series of tweets. Writing in point form helps me. As I work, the points become longer and longer until I’m adding bits of dialogue and description, and before long I’m flying.

Change your location

Writing in a different place can give your muse a fresh start. Last month we talked about working in a coffee shop, but how about in a different room at home, at the beach or in a beautiful park? You don’t need perfect surroundings. Sometimes your creative right brain prefers a familiar place where your critical left brain feels relaxed and comfortable.

Write your thoughts down

This beats staring into space and can help you visualize the material more clearly. Write something like, “This project is a (book, article, novella) about…” and fill in whatever details you have. Ramble on; explore the topic however it comes. When it starts to catch fire, you can switch to a more convenient format.

Change your point of view

If you’ve been focusing on the hero and heroine, switch to the villain’s point of view. Write a scene where he/she is watching the good guys and plotting mayhem. Remember, we are all heroes of our own stories. Your villain feels justified in whatever they plan, believing that the good guys deserve what they get. This can be refreshing to you and your muse, with the bonus of ensuring you develop your bad guys as completely as your heroes.

Choose the options that work best for you, and enjoy the process.

If you try any of these approaches, please share the results with us in the comments below. The blog is moderated to avoid spam but your post can appear right away if you click on ‘sign me up’ at right. I don’t share your details with anyone.

Happy writing,

Valerie

on Twitter @ValerieParv and Facebook

For more like this check out Valerie’s online course,

Free The Writer in You

http://www.valerieparv.com/course.html

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First Monday Mentoring, ask your burning question here

Half-way through the year already, where did the time go? The first Monday of every month (or the first Sunday if you’re in the northern hemisphere) is when I invite you to post your writing-related questions and I’ll  answer them here. Lots of talented writers read and comment on this blog and you’re also welcome to contribute your thoughts on an answer, or share a writing experience that might help others.

 Questions can be posted ahead of time if you like and I will answer during Monday July 2.  I monitor the blog and post answers throughout the day. To kick things off, here’s a question I was asked at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writing Centre during the last week:

Which is better, staying in one characters point of view or having a variety? I was told not to “head hop”

The viewpoint character is the person through which the reader “enters” the story. Like putting on a garment, we “put on” the character’s view of the story (POV) and see everything as it happens through that person’s eyes. If there’s more than one viewpoint character, we get to see the story as it’s experienced by two or more people.

In romance novels we used to see the story only through the heroine’s eyes. She would guess or imagine why the hero did things, or what he was thinking. These days, readers want to see both sides of the romance. so it’s common to switch between the heroine’s POV and the hero’s. To avoid confusing your reader, it’s a good idea to switch viewpoints only when we have something new to learn from the other character. She might think he’s not attracted to her, for example. In his POV, we find out that there’s danger and he’s pretending not to care to get her out of the way.

There are no rules, only what works in your story.

It all depends on your point of view!

If a critique partner or editor says you’re “head hopping”, this means you’re not staying in one character’s viewpoint for very long before switching to another, and this can get confusing. Some writers – Nora Roberts is a good example – switch so effortlessly we don’t notice it happening. A lot depends on your skill as a writer.  You need to be aware of whose POV you’re writing in and when you make a switch, so the reader isn’t lost.  Also beware of accidentally slipping into the head of a minor character by having them “think” about the hero or heroine as they take their coats, for instance. Rather, have the POV character assume that the minor character doesn’t like them by their snooty expression, so we stay in the right head.

Got a question? Advanced or basic,

I’ll do my best to answer.

Valerie

http://www.valerieparv.com

Proud friend of the National Year of Reading 2012

Established Writer in Residence 2012, Katharine Susannah Prichard Centre, Perth WA

On Twitter @valerieparv

and Facebook

Alphabet Soap – helping your H/h find their HEA among the romance writing acronyms

Blame texting, Twitter, or just plain human inertia…okay, laziness, but there are so many acronyms around that it’s easy to drown in a sea of them.  This blog may help you navigate your way around the ones most commonly used in writing circles.

Starting with the basics: ACRONYM – noun – word formed from the initial letters of other words eg Laser – Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

Not all acronyms are recent. When I was president of the Society of Women Writers (SWW) a member queried the meaning of SAE in contest conditions saying, “I know SA stands for South Australia but what is the E for?” We had to explain that SAE stands for Self Addressed Envelope which entrants were asked to include if they wanted their entry returned. A variation is SSAE – stamped, self-addressed envelope. SAEs can still be requested in contest conditions where  entries can’t be emailed.

Other writing and romance perennials:

H/h shorthand for Hero and heroine. Variants include M/M – male/male gay fiction, F/F – female/female, M/M/M or F/F/F or variants, menage (multiple) partner stories. BDSM stories have bondage, discipline and sado-masochism elements.

HEA stands for Happy (or Happily) Ever After, the ending readers look forward to your H/h enjoying after all their trials.

The letters don't always mean what the writer thinks they mean

POV – point of view or viewpoint, the character through whose eyes we see/experience the story. The heroine’s POV was once used exclusively but now we like to get inside the hero’s head as well. Using too many POVs leads to “head hopping” a writing sin where the reader loses track of who’s POV we’re in.

TSTL – one of my favourites, standing for Too Stupid To Live. The heroine who goes alone into the cellar of a haunted house at dead of night when the power is out is TSTL. Or a heroine who packs up and leaves after seeing the hero kissing another woman, concluding that he’s unfaithful when a simple question would reveal that she’s the H’s sister. TSTL characters turn up in “wall banger” books, so-called because the reader hurls the book at the wall in frustration.

DNF – a book the reader did not finish. See above for possible reasons.

WIP and MS or MSS – Work in Progress, also Manuscript. If the writing is  going badly, the writer may call the book “drek”. Hopefully, the editor and readers won’t.

YA – books written for the Young Adult market, eg Harry Potter or the Twilight series.

F & SF – fantasy and science fiction. SF is science fiction,  sci-fi being used mostly by detractors. SFR is science fiction romance.

ARC – where writers want to be, handing out Advance Reading Copies for review and comment.

TBR – writers and readers alike complain of a teetering To Be Read pile or file, in the case of downloaded ebooks.

Have you been puzzled by an acronym lately, or found one that made you LOL (laugh out loud)? Share it with us here.

TY (thank you)

Valerie

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