Being a Better Writer: PoV Strengths

Welcome back readers, to Being a Better Writer! Yes, it’s a day late, but I warned you guys. Unfortunately, I have that part-time job, and sometimes that means they want me for most or all of Monday.

Now, a quick update! Prior Alpha Readers, as in, those who have Alpha Read for me before! You should have an invite to the Shadow of an Empire Alpha in your inbox. If you have not received one, then something has gone wrong, please get in touch with me so I can update your contact information or pull you from the list if you’re no longer interested.

On that note, if you’ve not been an Alpha Reader before, or have elsewhere an are interested in being an Alpha Reader on Shadow of an Empire, contact me as well. The more critical eyes I have on this, the better. As always, I want this story to be the best it can be, and that takes some solid effort.

Last note, then we’ll jump to the meat of the post. There’s a new feature coming soon to this site. I’m not going to say exactly what it is, but if you’ve kept up with the news of my projects these last few months, you’ve heard whispers and mentions of a side project almost a whole year in coming that’s finally hit. It’s not another book; I’ll tell you that up front. But it will be something you guys may enjoy hearing about. Which is all I’ll say for now.

So, news is done. Let’s talk writing!

So today’s topic is, as almost usual these days, a request topic. I don’t recall which reader specifically requested this one (sorry), but it’s a good topic that, in light of some discussions I’ve seen online that all but floundered on this same point, seems to have come at a good time. Today, we’re going to be talking about PoV, or Point of View.

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Being a Better Writer: Tense and PoV Choice for Your Story

Welcome back from your weekend, everyone! I hope you had an enjoyable one, especially as looking at the numbers from the Anniversary MEGA-Sale, quite a few of you were reading Dead Silver and Unusual Events! Don’t forget to leave reviews! On Amazon, Goodreads, both, or even elsewhere!

Now then, it’s a new week, so that means (obviously, by this point) that it’s time for a new BaBW post. And this week, once again, we’re going to be looking at a topic request from a reader. Which is, in this case, a question of Tense and PoV use.

Now, we’ve actually discussed this a little bit before, talking about perspectives and the differences between the different types of PoV (Points of View, for those confused at the moment). So I’m not going to rehash that here (after all, you can click that link). But that’s not what this reader wanted me to do anyway. No, they had a different question in mind. In the aforelinked and mentioned article, I’d discussed that it was up to you, the writer, to decide which PoV to use and where. And this reader wanted a little help with that. They wanted to know how they were supposed to choose.

So today, we’re going to talk a little bit about that. And, granted, I don’t expect it to be that long of a post, because the answer is both simple and not … the trick being that the “and not” portion is mostly on you, the writer. If you’re looking for me to tell you “this is the better choice for your story,” I can tell you right now you’re not going to get that, because I don’t know your story (and that’s not an invitation to begin messaging me hundreds of story ideas and asking how to write them, just to be clear). I can give you a little bit of nudging in the right direction, but in the end I can’t really give a “proper” answer to which one you should use because it’s not my story.

Outside of “Don’t use second-person,” anyway. 99.999% of times, that is the right answer. In fact, unless you’re ghost-writing a Choose Your Own Adventure book, just don’t use second person, all right? Safer for all of us that way (also, don’t think you’ll be the one to buck the system, you likely won’t be).

Oh, and just in case, here’s that link to the piece on perspectives again. If you haven’t read it, you probably should do so now.

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Being a Better Writer: The Thought Process

So, today’s topic actually came to me only yesterday morning whilst on my flight home. I was at 30,000 feet (or whatever cruising altitude was for that flight) and suitably armed, as is my custom, with every type of boredom-defense I can fit in my backpack that will work on an airplane. At the moment, my tool of choice was two-fold: My Zune (yes, I have a Zune, and it has endured eight years and far, far more punishment than any other MP3 player my immediate family has tried), and my kindle. Which means that yes, I was a reading, and perhaps—okay, definitely—reading with a critical eye.

Anyway, I noticed something as I read through the first few chapters. It was something that I’ve observed before in other books, but because this book actually shifted its own stance as it moved into later chapters, my attention was captured by it all the more closely. I noted the absolute lack of “it” in the early chapters, and then as the story moved on, “it” began to appear more and more, changing the tone of the book as it came. The more “it” showed up, the happier with the book I became, as, I would hazard, did the author.

What was “it?” Well, to be honest, it was something quite simple. Something very straightforward and elegant, but something that still misses entire books.

It was the character thinking.

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Being a Better Writer: Perspectives

Perspective. It’s important.

I’ll be honest, part of me right now simply wants to link that wonderful scene from Pixar’s Ratatouille wherein Anton Ego sits down for a meal and orders “perspective.” Mostly just because it’s a fun scene, and Anton is such a fun character. I mean, his nickname is “The Grim Eater,” what’s not to love about that?

But ultimately, we’re talking about a different type of perspective today. Well, different types, to be more specific. Today’s matter comes as consequence of a number of online posts in writer’s groups and the like I’ve seen where younger writers inquire after differences in perspective (some of them not even knowing much more other than that the different types exist) and what those perspectives are used best for. Along with that, I’ve seen misconceptions (such as there is a “magic-bullet” perspective for certain genre’s) and confusion (such as responses that only provide half answers).

So today? I’m diving into perspectives. Nothing fancy, we’re simply going to look at each perspective type and talk about it. What makes it tick, how it’s used, where you might have seen it or run across it before … the works.

Like I said, nothing fancy. Let’s get to it!

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