Month: December 2019

Deep Point of View Versus Writing with Detachment

Deep Point of View Versus Writing with Detachment

Is Showing Emotion in Fiction Always Necessary? Sometimes the facts speak for themselves.

There is a strong trend at the moment towards deep point of view and taking the reader inside the world of the protagonist.  The idea is to describe everything the protagonist is feeling and to immerse the reader so deeply it is as though they are within the protagonist’s skin.

It is an intimate, visceral experience for the reader with the intention of drawing them into the story.

With deep point of view, there are no assumptions. That’s because different characters react to events differently and as writers, we need to show those reactions.

In my own writing, the recurring feedback was that I did not show enough of my protagonist’s emotions. Rather than simply telling them that Helen lost her home to financial trouble, missed out on her dream job and was cheated in business by someone she trusted, my readers wanted to know how she felt about these events.

I took their advice on board and showed Helen agonizing over what to take to her new home and what to leave behind, forcing a smile on her face when she met the woman who took her job and the wave of coldness washing over her when she realized she had been cheated by someone she trusted.

These were Helen’s reactions and they were particular to her, but a more highly strung character might have reacted differently. Helen is a measured, reserved character, but someone hot tempered may have thrown everything into a skip, turned her back on the woman who took her job and confronted the person who cheated her in business.

I am glad that I took the advice of my beta readers and I believe my novel is better for it. But having said that, there is also a strong case for writing with detachment; of reporting events as they happen and leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions about how the protagonist is feeling.

In cases of writing about serious trauma, writing with detachment can be very effective. Sometimes, people in these situations are so overwhelmed that they shut down. Unable to process their emotions, they become detached observers to the events around them.

In her memoir, Beginnings, author Millie Bayliss states simply My sister died the next year. This statement sits starkly between two paragraphs describing her blissfully writing songs and poetry as a child.

The sentence is jarring and out of place, like the death of her sister must have been to young Millie. There are no racing hearts, sweaty palms or floods of tears, but she gets her point across; her sister’s death was devastating.

So while I am a fan of deep point of view and showing a character’s reaction in motion, sometimes a simple statement of fact can leave a powerful impact on the reader.


Beginnings by Millie Bayliss, The Victorian Writer, December 2019 – January 2020

Posted by naomilisashippen in About Writing, 8 comments

What Do You Do When Your Passion Project Ends?

What Do you Do When Your Passion Project Ends?

Finishing a big writing project can feel like the end of a love affair. So what do you do when your passion project ends?

And so you’ve finally done it. That big writing project you’ve been working on is finally done. Whether it’s a novel, a collection of short stories or a non-fiction book, you have put your heart and soul into it for months or even years. But instead of a sense of achievement, you may find yourself feeling a little lost.

Writing is a solitary pursuit with no guarantees at the end, so completing a project can feel like an anticlimax. Before you start on the arduous road to querying, if that’s the way you want to go, step back and take some time for yourself.

Take a Break

If you have been dreaming of a holiday or even a weekend away, now’s the time to do it. A change of scene will recalibrate your senses and you’ll be as good as new when you return. Even a trip to the local massage shop, hairdresser or spa could be just the thing.

 

Tell Your Writer Friends

Whether you meet in the flesh or out there in cyberspace, let your writer friends know that your project is finished. Nobody will understand how you feel better than they will. Don’t think of it as bragging, think of it as inspiring. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my writer friends succeed; I am happy for them and it makes me feel optimistic about my own writer future.

 

Reconnect with Friends and Family

While you have been cloistered away, your social life has taken a back seat. Now’s the time to make plans with friends and family, and this time, show up like you really mean it!

Do Your Chores

When you’re deep in Writer Land something has to give, usually it’s the household chores. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have piles of laundry, rampant weeds and unpaid bills to attend to. Doing these mindless tasks can be quite therapeutic, and who knows, while your brain takes a break you might come up with the idea for your next project!

Recommit to Your Day Job

Until Hollywood comes knocking at your door for the film rights, you’re going to need that day job. While you may have been clocking in and out every day, I’ll bet you haven’t been on you’re A-game. Jotting down plot points during meetings, ducking out for “bathroom breaks” when inspiration strikes and even writing on sick days when you should be in bed are all the tricks us 9 to 5ers pull to squeeze in extra writing time. Well this behavior stops now. Recommit to your day job, while you still have one.

Read, read, read

Reading is a vital part of being a writer, and now’s the time to catch up on that TBR list. So sit back, curl up with a good book and let someone else do the driving.

 

Celebrate!

Most important of all, give yourself credit where it’s due. Whatever happens next, you have created a work of art, my friend, and that is an achievement in itself.

#WritingCommunity #WritersLife #Amwriting #PassionProject

Posted by naomilisashippen in About Writing, 11 comments