Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 24-30, 2016

Another lovely batch of writerly goodness for you!

First some Sudbury poet laureate news 🙂

Adriana Nicolucci interviews Kim Fahner for Our Crater.

More poet laureate goodness: it’s been a busy week at Sudbury’s libraries. Jessica Watts for The Sudbury Star.


K.M. Weiland asks, do you have a writing superpower (and why you shouldn’t)? Helping writers become authors. Later in the week, she helps us understand how to write scenes your readers will rave about.

Roz Morris shares tips on how to blend a parallel, allegorical fantasy plot into your novel. Nail Your Novel.

Bonnie Randall guest posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University: battling the block.

Marcy Kennedy returns with part two of her reading like a writer mini-series.

Chuck Wendig: What I’d like to say to young writers, part two.

Leanna Renee Hieber guest posts on Terribleminds: what to do when the bottom drops out.

James Scott Bell guest posts on Writer Unboxed: how to weave a message without pummelling your readers.

Steven Pressfield: I can’t squeeze my theme in! My favourite bit: “This is why writing (or the pursuit of any art) is, to me, a spiritual enterprise. It’s an endeavor of the soul. The stories we write, if we’re working truly, are messages in a bottle from our Self to our self, from our Unconscious/Divine Ground/Muse to our struggling, fallible, everyday selves.”

Later in the week, Shawn Coyne posts this: the designated driver. I’ve been listening to The Story Grid podcast and Tim Grahl has just finished his first draft.

Nina Munteanu explores the writer-editor relationship: editors preparing writers.

Stephen Stratford writes an essay on the dark arts of editing for The Spinoff.

Query Shark Janet Reid sounds off on why you should avoid querying services.

Author brands: Which kind of influencer are you? Carly Watters.

Martha Alderson guest posts on Jane Friedman’s blog and shows us how to use a plot planner.

Jami Gold looks at brain science from the perspective of how we, as writers, imagine.

I may have shared this before, but it’s a good article: how stories change the brain. Paul J. Zak for Greater Good.

This is long as heck, but Tor.com covers (almost) all the science fiction and fantasy adaptations in production and already on the air.

Charlie Jane Anders explores the moment when science fiction diverged from competence porn. i09.

Cassandra Clare created a fantasy realm and aims to maintain her rule. Penelope Green for The New York Times.

The secrets of medieval fonts. Medieval Books.

David Tennant as Puck. Just ‘cause it’s Shakespeare’s 400th 🙂

Shakespeare is dead: six hot takes. Literary Hub.

Rob Brydon shares Shakespearean phrases in everyday use.

 

The Doctor’s Long Story, a fan video with heart. Radio Times.

John Boyega and James MacAvoy to voice Netflix’s Watership Down. Comic Book Resources.

Nathan Fillion joins the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, with more than just a prosthetic-covered cameo. Peoples Choice.

Electric Lit shares an infographic that explains the real history behind Game of Thrones.

Sarah Mesle reviews the first episode of season six for the LA Review of Books.

Until Thursday, be well.

Tipsday

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 10-16, 2016

I can’t believe how much writerly goodness I have for you this week. WTF’s going on here, anyway?

Angela Ackerman wonders, why do characters resist change? Writers helping writers.

David Corbett argues that conflict isn’t the engine of story. Writer Unboxed.

Lisa Cron explains what ‘let it go’ really means. Writer Unboxed.

Sarah Callender helps us create delightful, messy characters with the humble ampersand. Writer Unboxed.

Lance Schaubert talks talecraft on Writer Unboxed.

Jami Gold explores paragraph breaks and voice in her building blocks of writing series.

Janice Hardy helps you get what’s in your head onto the page. Fiction University.

Margie Lawson shows us how to make strong writing stellar. Writers in the Storm.

Chris Winkle shares some tips on narrating layout and position. Mythcreants.

Kelly Simmons explains how your personality type wreaks havoc on your writing and offers ten things you can do about it. Writers in the Storm.

In times of doubt, Chuck Wendig advises you to write what you love. Terribleminds.

Leanne Sowul offers some tips to keep writing when times are tough. DIYMFA.

K.M. Weiland shares twelve ways to rock your novel research. Helping writers become authors. Later in the week, she explained how to moderate reader reactions to character sins.

I’m curating the curators, now 😉 Elissa Field shares a number of quirky research sources for writers on her Friday links for writers.

Jamie Raintree offers the three most common query mistakes and advice on how to fix them.

Roz Morris shares a discussion on the benefits of editors from Author Fringe 16.

Nina Munteanu writes part two of her ecology, women, and science fiction post: praxis. Great discussion with some of Canada’s best women SF writers and editors.

Kim Fahner shares some of her lessons learned from her week in Banff with Lawrence Hill (and meeting with Alice Major). Upon her return, she struggled with decompressing and managing her creative energy.

The first of three posts by Jim C. Hines on trigger warning shenanigans inspired by Stephen Fry’s poorly thought out comments: Trigger warnings are censorship, and other nonsense. He returned the next day with Trigger warnings as an impediment to healing and mental health. Here’s the third instalment: when trigger warnings attack!

John Grisham and Donna Tartt headline the author protest of Mississippi’s anti-LGTBQ law. Electric Lit.

Doctors and psychiatrists may soon prescribe fiction to help youth with mental illness. <This is me, cheering like Kermit—yaaaaaaaaaaay!> The Guardian.

Rod McDonald, Canadian designer of the typeface Classic Grotesque, heads for Manhattan launch party. The Toronto Star.

An interview with transplanted Sudburian, Matthew Murphy. Quebec reads.

Sian Cain covers Sir Terry Pratchett’s memorial for The Guardian.

Hedgehogs are the keepers of order and knowledge in Slavic fairy tales. Tiny Donkey.

Ten facetious book dedications that actually got published. Books rock my world.

Orna Ross shares a Celtic creation story.

This is awe-inspiring: The librarian who saved Timbuktu’s cultural treasures from al Qaeda. The Wall Street Journal.

Film dialogue from 2000 screenplays, broken down by gender and age, shows how sexist movies are. Polygraph.

No trailer for this yet, but Story of Your Life looks like it might be a good SF film to check out. Movies.com

Cheryl Eddy previews another fairy talish movie due out this year: A Monster Calls. i09

We have to wait until November (no way I’m wishing is here any sooner—love spring, summer, and fall!). Fantastic Beasts and where to find them.

 

But this weekend! Eeeeeee! Game of Thrones, season six. I really hope they make up for last year.

 

 

And that is Tipsday for this week.

Hope you are all well and writing wicked stuff 🙂

Tipsday

Series discoveries: mid-season follies

As a lead up to my fall 2015 series discoveries post, I thought I’d talk about the series I’ve been watching in the mid-season and what happened to the few I was watching that dropped off my radar.

From fall 2014:

I stopped watching Gotham (I know, people love it, but not me) and Stalker (just couldn’t get into it) after a couple of episodes each.

Followed Forever to the end of the season, but it doesn’t look like it will be back (at this point).

Watched Sleepy Hollow through to the end of its season, as well, but the writers kind of lost their way toward the end with the whole dark Katrina/time travel thing. When they resume, I hope they get their collective shit together.

Sad that Constantine wasn’t renewed, but I have to admit the series had its issues. The season story arc never really solidified.

Stuck with Once Upon a Time, Castle, The Flash, Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Criminal Minds, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, Grimm, and Doctor Who. I found, though, with the exception of AoS and HtGAwM, I could really take or leave any series. If I missed an episode, I wasn’t sad.

I’m still getting used to the new Doctor (more on that when I get to fall 2015). I love Nathan Fillion enough that I can’t abandon Castle altogether, The Flash was a little cotton candy, but I’m good with that, and the last few eps of Grey’s were gripping.

Arrow’s a little dark and convoluted. OUaT and Criminal Minds were okay, but just that.

I liked the AoS plot, moving forward (Inhumans—yay) and as the HtGAwM mystery unfolded, I really had to watch every episode.

Telling the tale in two directions (inciting incident forward and climax backward) was an interesting technique that I hadn’t seen done well in TV. It can work really well in books (The Dispossessed, anyone?) but it’s imperfect in a television series. A lot of shows start at the climax and then rewind to tell the story leading up to it, but HtGAwM was the first show that I’ve seen that stretches the technique over a whole season.

It was tasty television. Emmy-winning, even. Viola Davis rawks.

Mid-season:

I liked Agent Peggy Carter enough to give it another view if/when it returns.

I loved, loved, LOVED the conclusion of Outlander and am so sad that I have to wait until 2016 for the second season. It was so well written and so well acted. Kudos to the entire cast and crew for making one of my favourite novel series in to my absolute favourite television series ever. Evar.

Game of Thrones, while still well-acted (as evidenced by the large numbers of Emmy wins), diverged from the novels in what I can only call a cluster of epic fails. I’ve written about these briefly in my Tipsday curations as the controversies hit the interwebz. My reaction was profound disappointment. Too much rapey, misogynistic shit. We’ll see if the show runners can pull their collective ass out of the fire this year.

I have been watching Vikings since its beginning. I love this show. The characters are compelling, the history is fairly accurate, and the writing is superb. This show surprises me. There are plot twists that I didn’t see coming.

The acting is great, too.

I stopped watching The Following when season two dropped. It just wasn’t my thing. I do watch thrillers and cops dramas, but something about The Following turned me off. I checked out a few episodes in season three, but it was more of the same. Really. Although they were different characters, the baddies of each season were all the same underneath. It was like one guy trying on different human skin suits. Blah.

Orphan Black was phenomenal from the moment it started. Tatiana Maslany is amazeballs as an actor playing multiple Leda clones. Ari Millen hasn’t done too badly playing a cast of Castors, either. Great characters, dark storylines with awesome, light fun, and incredible, technical wizardry.

Side note: Leda is a figure from Greek myth, impregnated by Zeus in the form of a swan (awkweird) who bore four children: Helen (yes, that Helen) and Polydeuces by Zeus, and Castor and Clytemnestra by her human husband. So the female clones would more properly be Helens (yawn) or Clytemnestras (ick), or the male clones Polydeuces (double ick), so I forgive the writers for messing the mythology up. Leda and Castor work just fine, thank you.

Bitten. I didn’t mention this series last year, but I should have. Enjoyed it quite a bit. Differences from the books aside, the second season didn’t disappoint. The only male witch fights the only female werewolf. Wackiness ensues.

Killjoys was fun. It’s one of those SF series that doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. Bounty Hunters in space? I’m in. Intrigue me with a solid season story arc? Done and done.

Dark Matter wasn’t as good. The series is built around a gimmick. Six people wake up from hypersleep (or whatever) and have no memory of who they are or what they’re doing on the ship. The first season is all about discovering bits and pieces of the puzzle, but by the time something really interesting started to happen, I was yawning.

The Good Witch movies have now become a series. This one’s a guilty pleasure. Not heavy on the magic, it’s a sweet, romantic drama. Come on, it’s from Hallmark (!)

Side note: one of the actors in Dark Matter, Anthony Lemke, who plays an asshole (Three) on that show, also plays a character on The Good Witch. He’s a real estate agent and the hapless love interest of the title character, Cassie Nightingale. It’s interesting to see the two back to back. They are really different characters.

iZombie was great. Phil and I just finished watching the first season a week or so ago. Interesting take on zombies. Also, the comic book frame is really suitable. The main character, a med student turned coroner, named Liv, by virtue of being able to take on the memories and abilities of the people whose brains she eats, helps to solve crimes. She’s kind of like a zombie superhero.

Also, the series is full of word play and homage (like one of my other favourite zombie movies, Shaun of the Dead). There isn’t an episode that doesn’t make a clever pop culture reference. Easter eggs galore. Full on zombie? Oh, yeah. I’m there.

Phil and I picked up on Hemlock Grove, which we’d abandoned in favour of anime last year, and it was okay. I wasn’t blown away with either the first or the second seasons, though I did think some of the different takes on vampires and werewolves were interesting, and a number of the plot twists were actually cool.

Speaking of Netflix series . . . We thought Daredevil’s first season was pretty good. It was definitely dark, but well done. Tortured hero, check. Doubly tortured villain, check. Murphy’s law applied liberally, check. Matt Murdock is like a Timex. Takes a licking . . .

Sens8. Loved. It may have been a “slow burn,” but we felt that something pivotal happened in each episode and we watched the first season in short order. Excellent writing. The character development was fabulous. Everything came together really well. You’ll have to watch it to see the intended pun in that last sentence 😀

Phil and I are on tenterhooks waiting to see if the second season will get the green light. Due to the sexual and cultural diversity of the characters, a lot of people didn’t like Sens8. Really? We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

And my true guilty pleasure (and the only reality TV I watch), So You Think You Can Dance, just finished. I like how the judges aren’t mean and everyone is really trying to help the competitors become the best dancers they can be. No manufactured drama.

Yeah, so that’s what I’ve been doing with myself for the last few months, TV-wise.

I’ve getting into the new and returning fall season shows and I’ll have something for you in October, probably. I’ll do an anime update as well, though we’ve eased back on watching it a bit. There’s a story of intrigue that goes with the anime post, so I’ll leave you with that teaser 🙂

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend!

Series Discoveries

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 14-20, 2015

Another wonderful week for Writerly Goodness!

What’s the key event and how is it different from the inciting incident and the first plot point? I know I still forget the distinctions. K.M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors.

And here’s Katie’s Wednesday vlog: How to write a riveting characteristic moment.

Roz Morris shares her experience with repetitive stress injury (RSI).

Kassandra Lamb guests on Jami Gold’s blog: Nine psychology myths you need to avoid.

Tips on picking up the pace from Rebecca LuElla Miller.

Learn about the magic systems of Brandon Sanderson. Tor.com.

Five ways first contact could turn into an epic fail. Veronica Sicoe.

Neil Gaiman offers his thoughts on why stories last. (w/ Podcast) BrainPickings.

Liz Bourke ponders how we speak of strong female characters. This post refers to others I’ve shared in past weeks and takes it in a slightly different direction. Very interesting. Tor.com.

How can you keep readers from hating your characters? Jody Hedlund.

Beth Revis posts on Janice Hardy’s Fiction University: How do you know you’re ready to publish? Agent Carly Watters of P.S. Literary wrote on the same topic last week 🙂

Dave King explores our motivations for writing. Writer Unboxed.

Kameron Hurley asks, why are we self-publishing? Locus.

Porter Anderson takes a look at Hugh Howey’s promotion of self-publishing and what it really means in the context of the continually evolving publishing industry. Thought Catalog.

Related: Nielsen Book’s latest results indicate that self-publishing is more like traditional publishing. Publishing perspectives.

Amazon changes its terms for KDP select. The Digital Reader.

Why I teach diverse literature. The Toast.

What librarians wish we knew about how to use a library. i09.

Authors share the places that inspire them. FlavorWire.

Ten books you should read before you see the movie. The Huffington Post.

Mark Twain’s advice to little girls. BrainPickings.

This is fun 🙂 Classic novels with clickbait titles. BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed shares 22 book-themed gifts for readers.

Watch the Scooby Doo crew’s fashion evolve through the last century. i09.

The first set photos of the new all-female Ghostbusters! i09.

Mike Hale states that Game of Thrones the series is going the way of Lost . . . What do you think? The New York Times.

Here are Charlie Jane Anders’s suggestions about how to fix Game of Thrones. Is it even possible? i09.

How Terry Dresbach’s costumes bring history to life on Outlander. Variety.

Orphan Black’s season finale: history yet to be written. It was awesome (IMO). The Wall Street Journal.

See you Thursday 🙂

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 17-23, 2015

Seems like I’m all about the Writerly Goodness lately 🙂

Not all hybrid publishers are created equal. Jane Friedman in Publishers Weekly.

Here’s K.M. Weiland’s post and podcast on the perfect midpoint.

Avoid false suspense unless you want to ruin your climax. Katie’s Wednesday post.

How to silence your inner critic and defeat your writing demons. The Write Life.

Jules Feiffer in conversation with Neil Gaiman. Publishers Weekly.

The Publishers Weekly podcast: Rose Fox and Mark Rotella interview Naomi Novik.

Two Kurt Vonnegut articles from Open Culture: Eight tips on how to write a good short story, and how to write with style.

For Lois. Shane Koyczan’s poem from Superman to Lois. LOVE.

Female literati pick summer’s best books. Harper’s Bazaar.

Nine great science fiction books for people who don’t like science fiction. i09.

20 obscure English words that should make a comeback. Matador Network.

For balance: Fifteen words you should eliminate from your vocabulary if you want to sound smarter. The Business Insider.

Ballagàrraidh: The knowledge that you have been domesticated. The dictionary of obscure sorrows.

Is this what Shakespeare really looked like? BBC News.

This artist combined different cats and birds to create a whole new class of gryphons 🙂 Tumblr.

Check out these gender flipped Disney characters from Yue “Sakimi Chan” and then check out the links to Yue’s work on Deviant Art and Tumblr. UpRoxx.

How about these historically accurate Disney princesses? Buzzfeed.

The Huffington Post shares this list of ten things you may not know about Sailor Moon.

Who’s the best new superhero, The Flash, or Marvel’s latest incarnation of Daredevil? Salon.

Ok. So there was this big thing on the interwebz last week about the latest rape scene in Game of Thrones. I don’t want to get into the controversy, but I will present a number of posts on both GoT and Outlander and how the sexual violence portrayed in them differs.

As ever, you’ll have to decide for yourselves.

George R. R. Martin responds to criticism of Sansa’s rape scene in Game of Thrones. The Huffington Post.

Tobias Menzies shares his experience playing Black Jack Randall on Outlander. He’s terrifying in the role, by the way. Such an amazing actor. The Vulture.

Scotland Now recaps Outlander, episode 15.

How Outlander got it right and how Game of Thrones got it wrong. Playboy.

IndieWire weighs in on Outlander vs. Game of Thrones.

And a bonus: Never go anywhere without a Murtaugh! Q&A with Duncan Lacroix on playing Murtaugh. Access Hollywood.

See you on Thursday 🙂

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 3-9, 2015

Gots a bumper crop of Writerly Goodness this week!

Writerly news from the Sudz: Wordstock returns 🙂 The Sudbury Star.

Kristen Nelson shares four negotiating tactics of good agents.

Martin Hill Ortiz presents his analysis of 50 years of bestsellers. It explains a lot about how things have changed. Very interesting. In three parts, with more to come 🙂

Brenda Hiatt shares some interesting stats in her Traditional Publisher Survey. It’s from 2013, but it’s still interesting . . .

Roz Morris explains how to transition from academic writing, business writing, or journalism to fiction.

K.M. Weiland not only explains why unnecessary scenes are bad for your readers, but she also discusses the various types of unnecessary scenes and how to identify them so you can get ‘em outta your novel.

In Katie’s Wednesday vlog, she discusses how minor characters help make for a memorable protagonist.

Stuart Horowitz discusses how to plot without using a formula on Jane Friedman’s blog.

Therese Walsh posts part four of her multitasking series on Writer Unboxed: How to meditate when you’re too busy and why it matters – with Leo Babauta.

Donald Maass guides us through the process of using change to stir the higher emotions of our readers. Writer Unboxed.

In which Chuck Wendig critiques your story (that he hasn’t read). Read this amazing feat of digital prestidigitation and see if he doesn’t manage to do it (curse you, Wendig—you’re too brilliant for me).

Why being a debut author isn’t a dream come true (see the URL title for additional perspective: nipple deep in a mudpit of despair—oh joy). Buzzfeed.

Why your brain loves good storytelling. The Harvard Business Review.

Michael Hyatt discusses the power of persistence in his podcast.

16 modern poets you should read. Brit+Co.

The history of the ampersand:

And . . . the history of the interrobang‽

10 brilliant novels that have one fatal flaw. Charlie Jane Anders for i09.

May SF&F books that everyone will be talking about. i09.

Women in science fiction, a podcast from The New Yorker. Interestingly, I’m currently reading Pain, Porn, and Complicity, which explores some of the same issues. Interesting stuff.

Are our heroines too perfect? i09’s Observation Deck.

How Game of Thrones finally fixed its three weakest characters. Vanity Fair.

Holy cow! Where did all of that come from?

Come back for more curation on Thoughty Thursday where I will feed you interesting stuff to get your big squishy (brain) generating ideas 🙂

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 22-28, 2015

Posts on the Clean Reader controversy (a recap of the posts I shared last Saturday):

 

Your book’s inciting incident may not be what you think it is. Nice nod to The Princess Bride, K.M. Weiland 🙂

Here’s her vlog on 1st person POV vs. 3rd person POV and how to decide which will be best for your book.

Janice Hardy’s month-long online revision workshop isn’t over yet! Day 22: Sharpen the hooks and tighten the pacing.

Veronica Sicoe shared these pointers on writing a goddamned novel synopsis.

Jamie Raintree uses time blocking to organize her day and shares worksheets to help you do the same!

Neil Gaiman’s advice to writers from the Nerdist podcast:

 

John Ajvide Lindqvist on writing process:

 

My friend, Kim Fahner, contemplates her development as a writer.

Young readers prefer printed books. BoingBoing.

AussieWriter shares this infographic on writerly insults. Fun 🙂

Buzzfeed proposes 28 words that the English language should adopt.

MTV reports that the Game of Thrones series will “spoil” the Song of Ice and Fire books.

Entertainment Weekly posts this Outlander featurette in anticipation of next weekend’s return.

Outlander TV News from the UK premiere:

 

It was a writerly week!

See you on Thoughty Thursday!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 8-14, 2015

Sir Terry Pratchett passed away last week.

Here’s Neil Gaiman’s very worthwhile talk at JCCSF. It basically turned into a tribute to his friend.

 

Here is BuzzFeed’s ranking of Pratchett’s Discworld novels.

Sir Terry will live on in the words of his books and in the hearts of his readers.


 

K.M. Weiland’s Sunday blog and podcast is dedicated to writers on the verge of writing spectacularly complex characters.

Why is your awesome protagonist boring readers to death? Katie’s Wednesday vlog.

Janice Hardy’s month-long novel revision workshop on Fiction University continues. Here’s day eight.

Jodie Renner guests on Anne R. Allen’s blog with this step-by-step guide to writing a prize-winning short story.

Therese Walsh explores multitasking further on Writer Unboxed. Snakes on a brain.

Veronica Sicoe posts on how to clean up your manuscript formatting in MS Word.

Kameron Hurley muses on the virtues of becoming a professional writer.

The second round of Jim C. Hines’s guest posts on representation in SFF begins with this post by LaShawn Wanak on false narratives.

Grammarly presents the strange origins of English idioms.

Grammarly (again) offers ten quotes from Winnie the Pooh that will make you smile.

BuzzFeed weighed in with these 31 quotes from children’s books.

Vanity Fair analyzes the Game of Thrones season 5 trailer.

And HBO is doing a 30-day countdown. Here’s the first instalment: Who are the sand snakes?

Tor.com shares 13 fantasies that are based on myths from the British Isles.

Lessons for writers from Bavarian Fairy Tales. The Take Away.

See you Thursday!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Jan 11-17, 2015

I am so tired . . . but more about that on the weekend. In the meantime, enjoy some Writerly Goodness!

Agent Laurie McLean of Fuse Literary guest posts on Anne R. Allen’s blog: You may not need an agent, but why you may want one anyway.

Karen Woodward outlines her critique process.

The anatomy of a kick-ass query letter, from DIYMFA.

Eight query tips no one tells writers from agent Carly Watters.

Writing a synopsis. Janice Hardy’s Fiction University.

How to turn a short story into a novel. Roz Morris helps you Nail Your Novel.

How to transition to your story’s climax with a gatekeeper by Christine Frazier of the Better Novel Project.

Advice about advice from Jamie Raintree.

Then, Jamie posted this over on Writers in the Storm: four steps to happy writing productivity. Who says you can’t be happy and productive?

Delilah S. Dawson guest posts on Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds. 25 lifehacks for writers from a hack writer 🙂

Nnedi Okorafor looks at why science fiction created by African writers is still considered alien.

Quill & Quire previews spring 2015 books.

Buzzfeed compiles a list of 33 of the creepiest lines in fiction.

From Elle: How many women does it take to create the perfect sex scene? You know which one we’re talking about, don’t you? Oh yeah. Outlander: The Wedding.

The latest Outlander trailer for the second half of season one:

 

And . . . an Outlander soundtrack! In case you love the music as much as the show (and the novels) 🙂

The science of Game of Thrones. It’s okay to be smart.

 

And that she be it for this Tipsday!

Buh-bye, la!

Tipsday

Why is shifting point of view (POV) problematic?

For the second time in as many weeks, a writer friend has suggested a post to me. This time, it was about POV. In a short story I recently critiqued, the POV (third person, past tense) shifted from a mother to her daughter. I recommended either sticking with one POV, or marking the change with more than just textual cues.

My writer friend indicated that she had a film background and asked if the omniscient POV wouldn’t allow her to shift her focus between characters in a scene.

What follows is my response.

A wee caveat: this is based on my own craft learning to date. I’m happy to lay the burden of expertise at the feet of others 🙂


 

First, you should check out CS Lakin’s blog: LiveWriteThrive

You may have to go fairly far back in her archives, but she did a series on writing based on film techniques last year. She turned this into a book, Shoot your novel, which you can find on Amazon.

This might appeal to your filmic aesthetic.

Now, having said that, film techniques aren’t the same as POV in writing. Parallels can be drawn, but really, they’re two different things.

POV in writing is about who’s telling the story. Whomever the story belongs to is generally the POV you use.

Why is a shifting POV problematic?
I’ll let you do a little research on this yourself. So many people have written about it. It’s called “head hopping.”

Here’s a starter from our friend Google: https://www.google.com/search?q=head+hopping&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

My recommendations? The Write Practice, Marcy Kennedy (she’s Canadian), the Editor’s Blog (Head-Hopping Gives Readers Whiplash), and The Write Editor (The Difference Between Omniscient POV and Head Hopping). Jami Gold and WriterUnboxed are awesome too.

Go ahead. Check them out. I’ll wait while you scan a few of the articles 🙂

In a visual medium, the POV is omniscient, or at most limited third simulated by a voice over. You can’t really “show” the inner thoughts and feelings of a character on screen. So in film, the POV is the camera’s and by extension, the director, producer, and/or editor may have a hand in influencing the final product.

There is such a thing as an omniscient POV in writing, and it used to be used, but it’s not really popular anymore. Further, it’s hard to do well.

In cinematic terms, omniscient translates to the page as a wide shot, interspersed with close ups on various characters, but it’s all external observation. Visually, you have the zoom or cut to give you a clue as to which character or characters are the focus of the scene.

In writing, you have to do something that simulates the zoom to cue the reader that the focus of the scene is now changing. Otherwise, you could end up confusing your reader (who’s talking now? why do I have to hear from this character? why is this important to the scene/story?).

Readers have changed over the last century. This is primarily due to movies and television (where a complete story is told in 30 minutes, an hour, or two hours), video games (complete action smorgasbord), and the internet (e.g. Twitter: describe your day in 140 characters anyone?). Flash fiction and micro fiction now have journals devoted to them. Books have been written in Tweets.

Readers like shorter forms of fiction because they can read a complete story in a limited period of time (think CommuterLit.com).

If the story isn’t short, then the author must continually hook the reader and keep them interested in the story. Part of this is engaging the reader in the story (what’s at stake?) and the character (why should I care?).

Omniscient POV requires readers to pay attention and do a little more work than they might otherwise be inclined to do. It’s not personal. You don’t stick with any one character long enough for the reader to become invested in that character and you’re observing like a camera, never delving into a character’s thoughts or feelings.

A limited third POV focuses intimately on one character: She ran to his side and thought, Is he dead? Oh, please, no.

Some writers, for example George R. R. Martin in Game of Thrones, shift between characters in the limited third POV, but you will find, generally, that an entire chapter will be from one character’s POV.

If an author changes POV characters in the middle of a chapter, the POV will change when the scene changes (therefore one POV per scene) and there will often be a visual cue such as an extra line between the paragraphs, or a symbol like # or * set off in the middle of its own line. Barbara Kyle, Canadian author of historical thrillers set in the Tudor era, uses this latter technique.

A lot of young adult fiction uses first person POV (I, me, my) because it sinks the reader immediately into the thoughts and feelings of the character. This can either cement the relationship (he’s just like me!) or alienate the reader (why won’t he stop whining?). Most first person narratives stick with one character through the entire story.

Then you have the experimental authors who will mix third and first person POVs. Deborah Harkness does this in A Discovery of Witches. Diana Gabaldon did it first, however, in her Outlander series. The protagonist is written in first person and all other POV characters are written in third.

Hardly anyone can write well in the second person POV (you look in the closet and find a boy huddling in the corner). It has been done, but it requires a deft hand and mind. If any form is going to use second person POV, it’s likely a short, flash, or micro fiction story.

This gets even more complicated when you add tenses to your POV. Past and present are the usual choices. I can’t think of a novel written in the future tense in any POV. Again shorter forms may take the pressure of future tense but it feels awkward to read no matter what.

For short fiction, I’d recommend figuring out whose story you’re telling and sticking with that character throughout. If you lose the reader, they’ll put your story down.

If that reader is an editor or a contest judge, your chances of publication may be shot.

I’m just saying 🙂


 

Was this post helpful to anyone else? Please let me know in the comments. Also, as I mentioned last week, if you have any burning writing questions, I’ll be happy to do my best to answer them. Or refer you to the experts who answer them better than I ever could 😀

And that’s a wrap for this weekend!

Muse-inks